Column #HR7 World Series of Darts Festival… Par Uno

Sunday, June 27, 2010
Column HR7
World Series of Darts Festival… Par Uno

On a scorching hot Las Vegas mid-day the first dart was thrown in anger for the new World Series of Darts Festival. The clever Yanks had lured the wily Brits into a game of cricket. While named for the English game that is more sleep inducing than a speech by Al Gore North America’s game of cricket darts is a spellbinder. It takes guile, skill, nerves of steel, the mind of a grand master chess player or the ability to hit a lot of triples. On this day triples won the day as Mr. Phil Taylor ruled the day taking the final 3-2 after being down 2-nil against Mark Walsh. For being the champion Taylor took in $6,023.60 which in Las Vegas is a nice day’s work. Walsh as the runner-up banked $3,011.80. It was a typical Phil Taylor performance as he dropped only 4 legs throughout the day and 2 of those in the final going 21-4 on the day.

The 5 days of darts with total price money of more than $200,000 was billed as North America against the PDC. In truth is was a chance for those who live and play darts in North America to step up to the plate and enter a tournament against the best to prove their mettle. Only 73 stepped up to the plate which is sad.

With no tournament sponsor the PDC was laying $200,000 dollars on the line gambling on North American players. Of those who stepped up, Darin Young had by far the best results as he lost in the semi-final to Mark Walsh 3-1. Young would take $1,355.31 out of the purse. North America players did well until a number of them, all but Young, were eliminated in the round of 32. Nico Depaynos would fall 3-0 to Ronnie Baxter, Larry Butler went out 3-1 to Wes Newton, Young ended Bob Sinnaeve’s day 3-1, Chris Thompson took out Frank Hernandez 3-1. Las Vegas resident Dieter Schutsch along with Ken McNeil went out via the snyder route which all gin players know is something, in this case 3 to nothing. Each collected $188.238 for their top-32 placing.

As darts is a game that has roots in the waterholes of the world it should come as a surprise to no one that besides drink a pub supplies talk. There are few pubs in the world where a chin wag is not possible. As a dart tournament provides an occasional drink as an appetizer it’s no wonder that talk is the main course of the day. The Old Dart Coach was on the chat circuit. There’s a shocker. He was informed that once a player cashes three paychecks he can choose a nickname. That revelation came to light when the ODC made fun of Denis Ovens donning a shirt with “The Heat” on the back. As Ovens has cashed more than the required 3 checks this year, it therefore had been decried that Ovens will now be “The Heat.”

On a more serious note Larry Butler, the only Yanks to win a PDC event, had a suggestion that seems to have some merit. Certainly the number of North American players was disappointing. The “NA” could have stood for Not Attending”. Only 73 players does not bode well for PDC further involvement on this side of the Atlantic.

Butler suggested that maybe the PDC could set aside $50,000 which is far less than they are gambling on this Las Vegas venture. With that money the PDC could then go to 10 of the largest tournaments in North America with a proposal. The PDC would give each tournament $5,000 that must be spent in their men’s singles. With that money there’s the stipulation that the event must be 501 and best of 5. From the first tournament held North American Order of Merit points would be awarded and each tournament after that the top 16 would be seeded. The PDC would also have to invest in a North American Director whose job would be to foster the PDC tournaments.

There was only one complaint heard in day – one that might have had some merit. As the major event in the USA there should probably have been a staged semi-final and final. It is understandable that the PDC, because of no sponsor, couldn’t bring over all the staging, lighting and talent normally used for a TV event. Still it would have been nice for the PDC to work with some locals to organize and stage a final. On the 7th day when the Lord rested darters will be toying the ‘oche’ in Las Vegas for the PDC US Open Players Championship. As the late Irene Maude Reed used to say “There is no rest for the wicked”.

Yea I’ll have another Bud please.

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Howie Reed
The one and only Howie Reed (the Old Dart Coach) goes back decades with the legends of our sport - he knows where the skeletons are buried. Just ask any of the ADO and WDF old-timers! His widely popular column, Toeing the Oche, is a must-read.

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