PDC Chairman Barry Hearn has revealed that Phil Taylor could make a sensational return to the sport, after confirming that ‘The Power’ had contacted him to enquire about potentially returning to the professional circuit.
The 16-time world champion retired two years ago following the 2018 PDC World Championship, where he was beaten in the final by debutant Rob Cross. Taylor enjoyed unrivalled dominance across a glittering career spanning three decades, winning over 200 ranking tournaments.
Taylor still remains active on the exhibition circuit and will renew his rivalry with Raymond van Barneveld in a series of special events in 2020, after the five-time world champion bowed out from the sport at Alexandra Palace last month.
Nevertheless, Hearn told The Sun that Taylor had spoken to him about a possible route back into the sport. “I spoke with Phil a few weeks ago. He was thinking about, ‘Shall I play the UK Open by entering a Rileys qualifier?’. He phoned me and said, ‘What do you feel about it?’.
“I said, ‘Look, you aren’t subject to the player’s contract any more. You’re entitled to do what you like’. Phil is enjoying himself. But part of him misses that competitive element he doesn’t get doing exhibitions.”
As Taylor is no longer a PDC Tour Card holder he would have to attend Qualifying School in January if he wanted to return to the circuit on a full-time basis, although that seems distinctly unlikely, particularly given the fact that ‘The Power’ celebrates his 60th birthday in August.
The Stoke-on-Trent veteran could compete in the Rileys UK Open qualifiers next month ahead of March’s UK Open Finals in Minehead. Nevertheless, that would see Taylor locking horns with pub players dreaming of big stage stardom.
In an interview with Sky Sports last month, Taylor revealed that he would have competed in the PDC World Championship if he was given a wildcard, declaring: “I’d beat half of them without any bother, of course I would. I’d get to the final.”
Taylor also discussed the possibility of entering the UK Open qualifiers, but he appeared to diffuse speculation of a comeback due to health reasons. “I thought about it next year, but I’ve got other things that have come in now unfortunately. I’ve not got the time,” said the 59-year-old.
“My hip has gone. I’ve got arthritis in my hip. It’s been going for about 10 years but I’ve got time now to just nip in and get it done and time to recuperate. I was going to go and enter it just for a bit of fun, to see how far I could get through. To see their faces laughing at me.”
It remains unclear whether Taylor will attempt to make a return in 2020 and there were also some murmurings on social media that the 16-time world champion could be included in this year’s Premier League as one of nine ‘challengers’, although sources have denied these claims.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC