Column #HR8 World Series of Darts Festival… Par Deux

Monday, June 28, 2010
Column HR8
World Series of Darts Festival… Par Deux

Cicero wrote: “As you sow, so shall you reap.” That would be Marcus Tullius Cicero, one of Rome’s greatest orators and prose stylist who lived from January 3, 106 BC until December 7, 43 BC. He could have been writing about Mr. Phil Taylor’s first two days and the 5 day World Series of Darts Festival in Las Vegas.

For the second day on the trot, but of course as there have only been two, Taylor had the word Champion placed before his name. This time it was in the PDC US Open Players Championship where he bested Denis “The Heat” Ovens 6-3 in the final. With the check for $9,042.85 that makes Taylor’s two day haul $15,564.27 which is some kind of “reaping.” Ovens pockets $4,521.42 which is not considered chump change anywhere, even Las Vegas. Darin Young with his top 16 placing leads all North American Players with Vegas winnings of $2,109.03.

If there was no Phil Taylor the hottest player “going down the road” would be 53-year-old Denis “The Heat” Ovens. In the last 6 to 8 weeks he’s been runner-up at the UK Open, won a PDC Players Championship and been runner now twice. His smooth style of delivery belies a solid game combined with the knowledge of what it takes to win. Then it’s no wonder that Ovens has been in the position to finish second to Taylor on two occasions recently.

The final itself was a typical Taylor performance. He jumps to a 2-nil lead breaking Ovens for the second leg. Ovens breaks back when Taylor misses at 32 and 8. Ovens has a chance to level but misses his set-up 18 to leave 40 while Taylor makes 36 disappear. A 14-darter by Taylor makes it 4-1 but he misses d16 on the money end of a 108 check which allows Ovens to convert tops for the leg. A 14-dart answer changes the score to 5-2 with the “Fat Lady” licking her lips and finishing off her Corona with lime. She’s in the wings ready to sing. Ovens delays the “aria” from the Fat Chick with a 180 and a 68-out to extend the match one more leg. Down 5-3, Ovens has two darts to get to 5-4 but misses allowing Taylor another win when he disposes of tops.

There is no argument that Phil Taylor is the greatest player playing today. Like many professional sports it is somewhat unfair to compare the “greats” of today against the “greats” of yesterday. Each era’s players should really be judged against their competition. By that measure Taylor is head and shoulders above the rest. They are “very, very” good but when compared to Taylor their abilities may be ignored.

With the same logic the stars of the past like Mr. John Lowe, Eric Bristow, Jockey Wilson and the late Barry Twomlow deservedly have spots at the head of their class. Unlike those “old days” top eight money doesn’t just cover entry fees. On Sunday Mark Walsh, who lost to Taylor 6-2 in a repeat of Saturday’s cricket final, Adrian Lewis, Gary Anderson and Terry Jenkins all collected $1,510.98 for top 8 with semi final losers James Wade and Jelle Klaasen collecting $2,266.47. Kind of hard to imagine the loser tag for someone who collects $2,266.47 for an afternoon’s play.

This payout, so unlike those “back in the day,” rewards good play with good pay. But there’s a penalty to be extracted for the financial rewards…

The PDC is run as a professional organization with rules that are enforced. The player makes a contract agreeing to “act like a professional” for professional pay.

On Sunday, one player, thinking he was at the “Cow Flop Open,” let out a loud and uncalled for “YEA” upon winning a match. The Old Dart Coach, waiting until 5PM somewhere for his first beverage of the day, turned to a young couple from the mother country. “Watch this.”

Their quizzical look was replaced with recognition when a PDC Official was on the offending player like a seagull on a locust in Utah. With a finger pointed upwards toward the player the conversation can be imagined. “Listen here boy. You’re not at some amateur blind draw. This is professional darts where players act like professionals. Either act like a professional or get out and stay out. NO! I don’t want to hear from you. Keep your “yapper” shut.” The alleged conversation should have been typed in Geordie but that program doesn’t exist.

The information that the ODC was seen drinking water is a scurrilous rumor which should be discounted as such. Oh yes, it’s always 5 O’clock somewhere which proves that there is a God.

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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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