Column # HR111 Bye-bye Whitlock and Newton. And that’s no April Fools.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014
Column HR111
Bye-bye Whitlock and Newton. And that’s no April Fools.

Yes, it’s a little late for an April Fool’s effort but, being from Las Vegas, it’s no problem – the Old Dart Coach can decide for April Fool’s to fall on whatever date he chooses.  In Vegas, Cinco de Mayo always falls on a Saturday with a big box fight so the Se Hablas can drink Corona and whack their Piñatas.  Whacking one’s Piñata is muy bueno.

April Fool’s column?  Only if you think I’m going to write about Phil Taylor.  I’m tired of the Taylor saga.  He’s taken all the air out of writing about the PDC.  Darts writers should be writing about the emergence of Peter “Snakebite” Wright or the fall from grace of Simon “The Assassin” Whitlock.  In the past, facing a triple digit out, Whitlock – with the skill and nerve of 007 – would make it disappear.

Alas, he was the first to exit this year’s Premier League when despite five 180s he could only salvage a draw against Wes Newton.  In his next match, for pride, he lost a 6-2 lead with finishes of 170 and 116 when Michael van Gerwen finished with 164, 126 and 100 to capture a draw.  Whitlock was a 2012 Premier League finalist.  Rumor has it his off-the-board problems are effecting his play.  Taylor survived the cut with a draw against Barney.  Newton’s place in the League was short-lived as he went out the next week to Dave Chisnall.

The Premier League format has been extended because it’s a television ratings winner.  “Oh Lord, how the money rolls in.”  And boy, also, does the money roll in for the chosen that make it to the final four.  The Premier League now at eight players with the next cut leaving four and each of those players is assured of at least £60,000.  van Gerwen and Wright seem safe while Barney, Lewis, Taylor, Chisnall and Anderson will battle for the last two spots.  Three points separate them.  They could end up tied which would bring into play the ever popular crowd-pleasing “count back.”

Web boss, Dartoid, is running a poll asking if there’s a need for a Grand Poobah running darts in the USA.  Some names are mentioned.  A true dart fan and one intimately involved has said of those names mentioned, “…heck, most of them don’t even like or get along with each other.”  Therein lies the problem: the culture of the world of darts.  It’s a sport full of individuals with giant egos that equate ability on the oche with the ability to turn darts into a real money producing sport.

The PDC didn’t become relevant until they turned the running of their sports over to a promoter who knew advertising, promotion, the media and was allowed to make money.  Barry Hearn by name.  He developed new events while massaging those that didn’t work until they did.  He took the “YUT” championships from a ho-hum affair to a tournament with a £50,000 payoff (£10,000 to the winner).  Thanks along the way is also due to TV and Unicorn.  The finals will be played May 22 at the O2 between Keegan Brown and Austria’s Rowby John Rodriguez.  Brown’s name may be familiar as he’s twice bested Phil Taylor on the professional tour.

Top American players would have whined about the “YUTs” making that kind of money as it’s their opinion a promoter’s primary goal is to make them money.  They view it as a tungsten-scoring-double-hitting given right. In today’s sport culture the promoter comes first, then the money, and then the player.

The average American steel tip league player has pretty  much told the “top players” and their tournaments to bugger off.  Now, if the top players would only do the same.  Instead of posting “Gee buddy, it was great to lose to you – you are really good,” what we’d have is “You suck pal – if I hadn’t missed those six at double 16 your ass would have been grass and I’d have been the lawn mower.  Next time you’re mine scumbag.”  That’s the way we do it.

Mr. John Lowe calls himself “Stoneface” because every star has to have a nickname.  He does love a good laugh though, especially when it’s at someone else’s expense.  He wasn’t grabbing his sides with laughter when my 6:00 p.m. back yard sprinklers fired on time, drenching him and other party goers.  Okay, he smiled a little later.  Tried the same thing with Dave Whitcombe but the sprinklers failed me.  “A” for effort.

A recent Facebook post from John Lowe:

“John Lowe and Eric Bristow (are) booked at (the) London Palladium in a new musical, Sealed with a Dart – the story of a dart player, played by Eric, who travels the world in search of a barmaid he met in Stoke.  He finds her in Sydney, Australia. The Aussie darts champion, Joey Strokes, played by John Lowe, introduces Kathy the barmaid to Eric at one of their million dollar challenge matches.  The musical open November 2014 at the London Palladium.”

Holy free Miller Genuine thought the ODC!   John Lowe and Eric Bristow singing  their baby hearts out while tripping the light fantastic!

On the same day, Dave Whitcombe posted, “ Today is National Bang a Barmaid Day so I expect a queue to be forming outside the pub shortly.  We have all shapes and sizes up for grabs, from little experience right up to slut level, so something for everyone.”

WOW, who to believe?  Then the light went on…

It was April 1.  That jokester John Lowe was “having a go” while Dave Whitcombe had come up with another great promotion to fill his pub chock-a-block full.

Before he became the  ODC the not yet ODC penned a column for Darts World magazine, at the time the number #1 darts publication in the world.  In his April 1 column he suggested that Eric Bristow and Oily Croft were going to open a hair cutting salon in the tony Knightsbridge section of London.  The theme for their salon was “Just walk in and dance out.”  Not really sure how Misters Bristow and Croft reacted but the editor wasn’t amused as he immediately fired the “wannabe scribe.”

For the not yet ODC – he was the April Fool.

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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