Phil Taylor is the greatest darts player of all time.
Taylor has won 216 professional darts tournaments, including 84 major titles and a record 16 World Championships. He won eight consecutive World Championships from 1995 to 2002 and reached 14 straight finals from 1994 to 2007, both records. A six-time Professional Darts Corporation [PDC] Player of the Year, no darts player in history has a winning record in matches against the man known as “The Power.” Taylor was twice nominated for BBC Sports Personality of the Year [he was runner-up in 2010]. No other darts player in history has ever been nominated.
A perfect score in darts – comparable to a 300 in bowling – is known as a nine-dart finish. With no margin for error, it is the highest single-game achievement in the sport. Taylor is the only player in history to hit two nine-dart finishes in one match, in the 2010 Premier League Darts Final against James Wade. He has 22 career nine-dart finishes [most ever] and has hit a record 11 televised nine-dart finishes in his three decades as a professional. The Power is the first darts player to win more than one million pounds [$ 1,255,800] in prize money and has earned over £ 7 million [$ 8,800,000] in his career.
Born August 13, 1960, in the central England town of Stoke-on-Trent – home of Guns ‘N Roses guitarist, Slash, and Motorhead founder, Lemmy — Phillip Douglas Taylor is an only child. His mother worked at the toffee counter at Woolworth’s while his father made quarry tiles. The family was poor and had no electricity or running water. Taylor left school at 16 to become a sheet metal worker and later worked in a factory making ceramic toilet roll handles.
Taylor took up darts as a teen, playing with his father at Riley Arms Pub, a watering hole in Burslem. A natural from the beginning, he was soon asked to join the best team in Stoke, then played for the county team. In 1986, he met five-time World Champion Eric “The Crafty Cockney” Bristow, who loaned Taylor £ 10,000 to help him get started as a professional – on the condition Taylor give up his job at the factory. After struggling in his first year on tour, Taylor claimed his first title at the 1988 Canadian Open. Two years later, he qualified for the finals at the World Championships, where he met Bristow. Bristow had been suffering from dartitis – a psychological condition that prohibits players from releasing their darts correctly, comparable to “the yips” – but had recovered his world number-one ranking and was the top seed in the event. Taylor beat his mentor easily to claim his first world title.
Nicknamed “The Crafty Potter” [Stoke-on-Kent is the home of England’s pottery industry] early in his career, Taylor played in the British Darts Organization [BDO] from 1987 to 1993. Dissatisfied with dwindling sponsorship and television coverage, Taylor was one of 16 players who broke away to form the World Darts Council [now known as the PDC] in 1993. After losing to two-time world champion Dennis “The Menace” Priestly in the final of the inaugural PDC World Championship in 1994, Taylor began a reign of domination never before seen in darts. He reeled off 14 straight world championship finals, winning eight, and claimed every prize the sport had to offer. Taylor has won in Asia, Europe, North America, Australia and South Africa.
Taylor’s soft, round face belies the fact that he is a stone-cold killer with a dart. At 5’7” and somewhere between 210 and 250 –depending on how his diet is going – the pale, dumpy right-hander throws darts better than any human in history. His arm – which is insured for £ 2 million – has earned Taylor the title of “world’s greatest living sportsman.” He trains four hours a day, rarely takes a day off, and owns most every record in the annals of his sport.
Mr. Taylor walks on to Fanfare for the Common Man, followed by The Power from the German band, Snap! He throws a 26g, Target Power 9Five, 95 percent tungsten dart, which features a unique pixel grip, Azzuri Blue Titanium Nitride highlights and a Titanium power shaft. Nicknamed “The Power” since 1995, Taylor was inducted into the PDC Hall of Fame in 2011, the same year he entered the Stoke-on-Trent Hall of Fame as a charter member.
In 2017, Taylor made his 28th consecutive appearance at the World Championship, and is currently seventh on the PDC Order of Merit [money list]. Earlier this year, Mr. Taylor officially confirmed his intention to retire from darts after the 2018 World Darts Championship. The appearance [his 29th straight] will surpass the record he currently shares with the great John Lowe, who won World Championships in three different decades.
On this date in 2012, Taylor recorded a single with British musician Chad Hodges called Got My Tickets for the Darts, with sales proceeds benefitting London’s Haven House Children’s Hospice.