Phil Taylor will skip next month’s World Grand Prix in Dublin, as he continues to scale down his commitments ahead of his impending retirement.
Taylor will retire from the sport following this year’s World Championship in January 2018 and he has carefully managed his schedule this year as he continues to wind down his unparalleled career.
‘The Power’ has not competed in any Pro Tour or European Tour events this year, which saw him miss out on March’s Coral UK Open Finals, whilst he will also be absent from this year’s European Championship and Players Championship Finals.
Nevertheless, he has now controversially opted to withdraw from next month’s World Grand Prix, which will deny him the chance to vie for an unprecedented 12th World Grand Prix title.
Taylor has endured mixed fortunes in this event over recent years. His last title on Irish soil came in 2013, when he produced a merciless display to whitewash a beleaguered Dave Chisnall. However, in the last two years, he has suffered successive first-round exits at the hands of Vincent van der Voort and Steve West respectively.
Although the legendary Stoke-on-Trent star has yet to confirm the reasons behind his withdrawal, it is believed that he has opted to focus on November’s Grand Slam of Darts, as well as his last major tournament, the 2018 World Championship, where he’ll be going in search of a 17th world title at the Alexandra Palace.
However, Taylor’s absence in Dublin has far-reaching consequences for a number of other players. It has handed 2015 Grand Prix champion Robert Thornton a major reprieve, as the Scot was set to miss out on this year’s event after his miserable form has seen him slip to 17th in the world.
Taylor’s withdrawal also means that his old adversary Raymond van Barneveld will be seeded in Dublin. The five-time world champion fell to ninth on the PDC Order of Merit over the weekend, but Barney will now be the eighth seed, which sets up a potential quarter-final clash with his World Cup teammate Michael van Gerwen.
Van Gerwen, Gary Anderson, Peter Wright, Adrian Lewis, Dave Chisnall, Mensur Suljovic, Michael Smith and Van Barneveld will be the eight seeded entries, whilst Rob Cross, Gerwyn Price and Kyle Anderson are among the Pro-Tour qualifiers that the big guns will be hoping to avoid.
Taylor, who has won the BetVictor World Matchplay and Melbourne Darts Masters titles in recent months, will make his next televised appearance at this weekend’s Champions League of Darts live on the BBC- as the 57-year-old aims to defend his crown in Cardiff.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
PDC Order of Merit Qualifiers (Seeding in brackets)
Michael van Gerwen (1), Gary Anderson (2), Peter Wright (3), Adrian Lewis (4), Dave Chisnall (5), Mensur Suljovic (6), Michael Smith (7), Raymond van Barneveld (8), Jelle Klaasen, James Wade, Daryl Gurney, Kim Huybrechts, Ian White, Benito van de Pas, Simon Whitlock, Robert Thornton.
ProTour Order of Merit Qualifiers
Rob Cross, Alan Norris, Joe Cullen, Mervyn King, Gerwyn Price, Steve Beaton, Kyle Anderson, Cristo Reyes, Darren Webster, Stephen Bunting, Christian Kist, John Henderson, Justin Pipe, Steve West, Richard North, Ronny Huybrechts.