American darting legend Rick Ney (1961-2017) has tragically passed away after being involved in a fatal motor-vehicle accident in Pennsylvania on Sunday afternoon. Ney was reportedly driving a 2015 Jeep Patriot when he collided head-on with a tractor trailer, and he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Ney emerged during the 1970’s American darting boom and enjoyed tremendous domestic success during his career. He won the US Open in three consecutive years between 1980-1982, whilst he also triumphed at the ADO National 501 Championship in 1990, before retiring from the competitive scene a few years later.
Nevertheless, the highlight of his career came in 1985, when he played an integral role in America’s WDF World Cup winning side. Ney joined Tony Payne, John Kramer and Dan Valletto in securing gold for the US team in Brisbane, Australia, where they defeated defending champions England 9-0 en route to glory.
Ney’s televised debut came in 1980 at the News of the World Championships in London. Six years later, Rick went on to reach the final of this prestigious event, where he was beaten by former World Championship finalist Bobby George.
Ney also appeared in the BDO World Professional Championships on four separate occasions, losing out to huge names in all of his appearances. His best run came in 1988, where he performed brilliantly to reach the semi-finals. He defeated Magnus Caris, Chris Johns and Dennis Hickling, before succumbing to eventual winner Bob Anderson.
In both 1984 and 1987, Ney was beaten in the second-round by five-time world champion Eric Bristow, whilst his final World Championship appearance came in 1989, when he suffered another second-round exit at the hands of two-time world finalist Dave Whitcombe.
Rick Ney’s tragic passing was confirmed in a statement released by the American Darts Organisation on Monday afternoon, where they described him as “one of the all-time greats of American darts“. Condolences go to Rick’s family and friends at this very sad time.