Column #HR155 The World Championships

Wednesday, January 6, 2016
Column HR155
The World Championships

The Dart Coach was saddled up and ready for 2016. He bid adieu to 2015 on a high note.  Living in Hog Heaven as an old college roommate liked to say.  He made his farewell with wall-to-wall college football bowl games, the PDC World Championships on the telly and with a move into the modern world by purchasing a laptop case on wheels. Attired in a Mickey Mouse sweatshirt and stocking cap he was disappointed not to find a Hello Kitty case at Walmart. Regardless, the holiday season drew enough wood to open a Lumber Liquidators.

Then, just hours into 2016, the Dart Coach violated one of his New Year’s resolutions. He went off like the New Year’s Eve fireworks above the Las Vegas Strip, railing against those who take credit for things they had no part in accomplishing. He equates that action to the “crowing rooster taking credit for the sun rising.”

His anger is understandable. Al Gore stole credit for inventing the Internet. Then, to top it off  Zuckerberg absconded with Facebook. Enough is enough!

Anderson – World Champion Again

The PDC World Championship went to Gary Anderson as he defeated Adrian Lewis 7 sets to 5. The match was pedantic.  Maybe unfair, but the final was overshadowed by the absence and drama of Phil Taylor or Michael van Gerwen. Both players exited in spectacular fashion.

Taylor went out to Jelle Klaasen 4-3. It was a typical Taylor performance of late where he looked great, not so great and then ordinary.  Klaasen is fun to watch as he wastes little time launching his darts while using his own unique out chart. With 78 and two darts he went  d19, d19.   Prior to the match, with van Gerwen out the day before, it looked like clear sailing into the finals for Taylor.

Van Gerwen went out 4-3 to Raymond van Barneveld in what the experts called the “greatest match ever.”  The Dart Coach – he has jettisoned the “Old” for 2016 – would dispute this claim. He would place it third all-time behind his win at the Mayo Clinic in Chattanooga, Tennessee over Darting Queen Melanie Rice and his 1-0 win over the late Barry Twomlow at Twomlow’s local on a rainy night Chesterfield, England.  The van Gerwen-Barney match was immediately preceded by one of the worst performances in history.

Gary Anderson beat Dutchman Vincent Van der Voort 4-0 where the wooden shoe guy could garner only one leg from 12. The announcers correctly pointed out that van der Voort was throwing rubbish.

That raised the ire of one mentally challenged dart fan. “Van der Voort was sweating like a person or thing (can’t leave sheep out) engaged in the world’s oldest profession in a house of worship.”

Another Facebook guy posted  to Van der Voort, “Thanks for stopping by.”

Another took issue, “The commentators SUCK! 99.999999% of male players would sacrifice both testicles to play as well as van der Voort.”

Maybe Bruce Jenner, although Jenner (according to Ms. Tasha), kept his equipment “because he still likes to do the horizontal mambo.”  What this clown ignores is that 99.99999% of dart players don’t claim to be professional and are not in the World Championship.

ADO-endorsed?

For darting excellence, is having the ultimate equipment change farfetched? Well maybe not. There’s ”apparently a man in the New York area who is making the transition to female but who, however, still has ‘original’ equipment.'” Allegedly, he demanded that the Dart Players of New York (DPNY) allow him to enter the women’s events – or he would sue. “Allegedly, he played in ladies’ events at the Long Island Open and will be playing in the Las Vegas Open later this month.” The DPNY ladies’ events have been cancelled. The ADO, again – allegedly – has cleared this person to compete in ladies’ events (at least at the Las Vegas Open).

One propionate female player posted, “I support women dart players and for me that includes transgender women. I have been very saddened lately to see some very mean spirited and ugly things posted by women dart players about other women dart players.”Ms_ Tu III

Now the Dart Coach knows “ladymen” as anyone whose traveled to Thailand would.  In fact, Ms. Tu has played on his various teams over the years in Land of Smiles. She is a lady. The guy in New York? Maybe a guy that wants to play dress up but only while keeping his factory accessories.

The battle of the Van’s – Gerwen and Barneveld – had high drama, great darts with enough twists and turns to make a 20-foot snake proud.  Tied at three sets, Barney had the throw looking like a man ready for his last rites (as van Gerwen stole the 6th set with 135-check). Barney went up 2-0 when van Gerwen answered with a 10-darter, which Barney answered with a 96-check after van Gerwen missed a dart at tops.  When the final dart went in Barney raised his arms looking skyward probably thinking “Thank you Tungsten God.”

“This match made me fall in love with this game all over again,” posted one fan.

America’s hopes ended when Darin Young went out to Terry Jenkins 3-1 after coping the first set 3 to 1.

America’s Player of the Year?

At press time, Larry Butler was still alive at the BDO event at the Lakeside. He advanced to the round of 16 with a scintillating 3-2 win over Dutchman Ryan de Vreede.  Tied at two sets and two legs each, Butler tossed a nifty 11-darter (140-140-180, then 41-out) to move one leg from the “W.” Then, up jumped that pesky old Dart God.

Larry, going first, managed only 405 after 18 darts from a start of 100.  After 15 darts, de Vreede was sitting at 55. His next three yielded only 15 which included two at tops.  From tops, three more got de Vreede to 10 when Butler finished with a 96-check (20, T20, d8) to advance.

#1 seed Glen Durant awaited Butler.

Butler would fall to Durant 4-0. Still, is there any argument that Butler should be the USA’s player of the year?

Maple Leaf bearer Jeff Smith took out the #2 seed Martin Adams 3-0 to move on. Way to go Jeff.  Adams lost to Butler in the semi finals at last year’s World Masters.

Back to the PDC…

Calling Gary Anderson’s win “pedantic” discounts the fact that Anderson joins only three other players who have won back-to-back titles – Eric Bristow, Raymond van Barneveld and Adrian Lewis. The win added £300,000 to his bank account plus £15,000 for his 9-darter against Jelle Klaasen.

Lewis would lead 3-2 but would fall victim to an Anderson run that resulted in a 5-3 lead, which Anderson would never relinquish. Lewis got it to 6-5, helped when Anderson for the second time miscounted. After losing the set, Anderson complained to match referee George Noble, Jr. that he couldn’t see. Commentator Wayne Mardle “commentated, ”What do his eyes got to do with counting?”

At 5-6 down, Lewis hit a pair of T80s and a d16 to break for a 1-nil lead. Lewis wasted a T80, his 19th, when Anderson checked 64 to level with a break of his own. With Lewis in double range, Anderson made 170 disappear, which he followed by starting the next leg with T80. The Fat Lady was licking her lips getting ready to sing and did when Anderson landed d12 for the win.

The twit who stated that 99.999999% of male darters would give up their “ball bearings and tallywackers” to play like van der Voort was really upset with the play…

“Bull crap darts. I’m dusting of (probably means off) the arrows and coming out of retirement.”

Maybe first he’ll be shopping at “Dress for Success.”

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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