Column #HR63 It ain’t the World Darts Fraud… but the PDC World Cup draw SUCKS!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Column HR63
It ain’t the World Darts Fraud… but the PDC World Cup draw SUCKS!

Most baseball fans know the term “dog days” of summer. In darts it’s the “dog days” of winter. Not a bunch going on early in the early part of the year either in Europe or the good old USA. Sure the WDF, World Dart Frauds, has some tournaments but their effect is as Simon & Garfunkel sang, “The Sound of Silence.” The Zen term, “the sound of one hand clapping,” might be appropriate but that seems so yesterday.

The ADO Tour, such as it is, kicked off early in January in Philly with the Rae Chesney Memorial. Joe Slivan took the ‘01 title with Darin Young capturing the “Pro Shoot.” Larry Butler finished runner-up in both events. Usually you don’t find USA results here but today they provide a segue to the Las Vegas Open, January 27-29 in, well… Las Vegas. In addition to darts, the event at the Tuscany Hotel/Casino will also include the consumption of “aiming fluid” and “group tightener,” hopefully by the Old Dart Coach, to excess.

The segue is two-fold. The first is a plug for the Las Vegas Open which has been handled with great dispatch. Second, it’s a wake up call to the Old Darts Coach’s former league teammate in Reno, Nevada, Mr. John Boyne. The ODC got cranked up on “aiming fluid” and “group tightener” once during the holidays. Okay, maybe more than once. On one occasion he got so amped (politically correct why of writing “hammered” or “legless”) that he picked up his darts, shook off the dust, and then tossed them with meaningful purpose. On six trips to the oche all 18 darts hit the board.

Rushing to the computer he immediately fired off a spam email that would have made a former Nigerian prince proud. This would be a Nigerian prince who had $100 million dollars locked in a bank in the Caymans Islands and just needed you as a co-signer to get his money. As the co-signer you, dear spam person, would get $10 million after paying the paltry sum of $10,000 to unfreeze the account. Cash, electronic funds transfer or cashier’s check gratefully acceptable.

The spam email sent by the ODC extolled his recent success at the dartboard, six trips and all 18 darts hitting the board, and sought an ‘01 doubles partner for the Las Vegas Open. Under a veritable deluge of responses the ODC chose the lucky Mr. John Boyne as a partner. The terms “veritable deluge” and “lucky” are in the eyes of the beer holder.

WORLD DART FRAUD
It is not easy to understand the rational of those that rule the WDF other than blaming it on BDO “in breeding.” That’s understandable as in “a rule is a rule and a rule will stand until we say it isn’t a rule any more.” In an exchange of e-mail’s the ODC likened the BDO/WDF to the old British Empire “where the sun never set.”

“When the end came they were surprised. They never saw it coming.”

“They don’t need to. It’s like a cult, a closed system. I call those people “The High Priests of The True Way of Darts.” Facts can’t shake them. Like every true believer they are resistant to reality. It is perfectly okay for them if only a small number of blessed believers remain with them as they walk on the “path of light.” Sometimes that “path of light” is at the end of the tunnel and is the Super Chief hauling “A”.

It’s interesting to note that the WDF wouldn’t allow Stacy Bromberg to play in their “ultimate” tournament, the World Cup, but did give her the princely sum of $300 for her finish in the final WDF standings. Gee $300. “Be still my heart,” yelled the Old Dart Coach as he cracked a Miller Genuine. The WDF has a strange strategy of ranking players, giving them princely sums and then not allowing them to play in the Word Cup. Guess it’s a European thing. Top Yank in the WDF Rankings was Larry Butler who raked in $500. Another “BSMH” moment.

PDC MORE LIKE GOLF

With the recently concluded “tour school” it’s looking more and more as if the PDC is becoming like professional golf. Giant move up for the sport. In order to be eligible to enter a Players Championship event a player must have a current full tour card. A tour card is given to the top 64 in the Order of Merit after the World Championships or via the qualifying school which just concluded. Over the four days of play the top four from each day and the next 24 in the tour school ranking system get cards. Also three youth players get cards. The total number of tour cards is 128 which is the main draw for any Players Championship. America will have NO players with a full tour card as Gary Mawson didn’t make the grade.

Ted Hankey, a two-time BDO world champion, accepted a two-year tour card prior to the tour school. Hankey was the BDO Lakeside champion in 2000 and 2009. He was a television hit during the recent World Championships. He’s a throw back, almost, to the time of Eric Bristow and Bobby George. He’s a true character as opposed to the plastic characters that the PDC currently tries to hype. There is a difference between a “jerk” and a “character.” Hankey had kind departing words for the BDO but, still, when given the chance he jumped off the sinking BDO ship like an Italian cruise ship captain. The Players Tour begins this weekend with an event in at the Hotel Melia in Benidorm, Espana.

For this Players event, tickets for fans will be available for a “stage room” where some matches will be played including the final 16. Eric Bristow was somewhat critical of the PDC for not doing this for all Players events. Bristow’s comments came prior to Dave Chisnall’s match against Phil Taylor at the World Championships. Chisnall won that match.

“The PDC doesn’t really train players for the big stage with the Players events. They play in front of no spectators, they can’t cheer a 180, they can’t celebrate a win – as there’s a match going on next to them.”

This opinion was echoed by the ODC. This year all Players European tour events will have “stage rooms.” This information came from an official high in the PDC hierarchy. At the time this official wrote, “I know what you and Eric are saying though, and we are looking at it.” One would think it was a lot of Eric and damm little of the ODC.

PDC World Cup… GOOD & BAD

Unlike the WDF version of the World Cup the PDC edition in its second year will pay out £150,000 to the 48 players that will compete – with first round losers taking home £1,000. Okay guys, girls and those that decline to state: before you lay a “Be Still My Heart” on the PDC take a deep breath. Consider that the World Dart Federation, “World’s Dart Fraud,” pays zero, zip, nada.

The PDC World Cup event kicks off February 3rd in the Alsterdorfer Sporthalle in Hamburg Germany. The players representing 24 countries will all be taking a shot at the reigning World Cup champs, the Netherlands, who will be represented by Raymond van Barneveld and Vincent van der Voort. The Dutch though only secured a number #3 seed with the English duo of Phil Taylor and world champion Adrian Lewis in the top spot.

Seeds were computed by taking the Order of Merit ranking positions and then adding them together with the lowest number the higher seed. As Taylor is #1 and Lewis #2 their combined 3 made them easily the top seed. The number two seed is Simon Whitlock and Paul Nicholson from the Land of Barbie’s and nervous kangaroos. Nervous kangaroos? Yep. The problem is that kangaroo’s sometime jump out of their rubber boots. Nicholson could be described by Shakespeare, if he hadn’t assumed room temperature, as “Much to Do About Nothing”.

The top 8 seeds in the World Cup draw a bye with preliminary round matches between seeds #9-24. It would be easy to argue, so I will, that the #9 Canadian duo of John Part and Ken MacNeil got no break in the second round draw, which never should have been made. Assuming the Hockey Pucks get by their preliminary round match against Hungary they then face #1 England next. That Canada, the number #9 seed, should get the number #1 seed while those seeded behind them get lower seeded team to play is “HS”.

The ODC instructed the following email be sent to the PDC.

The draw sucks the big one. Canada seeded #9 plays #1 if they win. In a 16-team tournament (which this becomes after the preliminary round) #9 would play #8 not number #1. Teams seeded behind Canada (therefore by theory not as good by ranking points) get better draws against lesser seeded teams than Canada. I again want to thank my brothers from across the pond for providing cannon fodder for the sometimes sometime fertile, from the word fertilize, mind of the Old Dart Coach. The draw sucks! It’s something I would expect from my pal old Oily.

The email closed with “and he wrote this before his coffee.”

The “unofficial” PDC answer to the ODC? “Enjoy your coffee.”

America? The pair of Darin Young and Gary Mawson should get by their opening round match against the Philippines. They then get Wales which should send them home. It’s not only Canada that gets the “big fat PDC sausage.” Sweden, #13, should then win and get the #2 seed in Australia. Yet another “sweet ride” for a lesser seed. The PDC seems like a replay of the old Clint Eastwood movie “The Good, Bad and Ugly.”

A PDC TOUR FOR NORTH AMERICA?

One dart publication proudly announced on their web site “It’s official! The PDC will launch a North American Pro Tour (NAPT)… that is designed to grow each year and… and sustain itself after the first three years… meaning that there would be at least 8 pro events in 2015 and subsequent years. Success of the program will mean additional growth in year 4 (2015) in terms of increased prize money per event and/or an increase in the number of pro events throughout North America in 2015.”

As this column, a candidate for the Dart Writers Hall of Fame, goes to press only one event was named, that being the London, Ontario tournament which has been a successful full tour stop the last few years. One change is that the event will be restricted to players from North America when in year’s past it was open to all – with regular tour players coming over the pond to collect a payday.

Currently the regular tour players pony up £100 per day. It might be difficult to find enough North American players to pony up $300 dollars plus per weekend. Major League Darts currently is attempting to create a similar market. Good luck to one and all.

ODC TIME

With the PDC becoming more professional, as golf did many years ago, they must be looking for new formats for television. They have about run through formats, with the exception of cricket, which they have rightly ignored (which is a big plus in the PDC favor). Might I suggest that a perfect made for television format for the PDC would be a “skin” game.

It just so happens that a few years ago I invented and secured a copyright for a “Dart Skin Game.” Yes the fertile mind strokes again.

As the second most interesting man in the world says, “Stay thirsty my friends.

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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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