Column #HR239 It’s a good thing Phil Taylor could count on the Old Dart Coach!

Wednesday, August 15, 2018
Column HR239
It’s a good thing Phil Taylor could count on the Old Dart Coach!

It may surprise some who partake of these efforts that there are people out there in Dartland who have questioned the qualifications of the Old Dart Coach – his bona fides and his “oche cred.” Just for the record, the combined tally of the ODC’s and Philip Douglas Taylor’s championship and title wins is 227.

In a brief interview after the World Matchplay Phil Taylor kind of whined about the strain of travel on today’s PDC top players, particularly given that after winning the World Matchplay on Sunday Gary Anderson would find himself on a plane the next morning for Auckland, New Zealand. When the ODC heard this he immediately broke out his brand new “limited edition” Paul Lim hand towel (available at Restar Trading in Hong Kong for only 100 Hong Kong dollars or $12.74 + shipping and handling) to capture the crocodile tears that flowed from his baby blues (that are brown) as he sobbed uncontrollably.

If Anderson were to endorse this position he might consider that for his win in the Matchplay he took home a nifty £160,000 or $204,180.21 which for Golden Age pros was a lifetime’s winnings. Perchance Mr. Taylor has forgotten that when he came up he and his fellow pros traveled hundreds of miles to do exhibitions for £100 and were damn glad to get it. Here’s a little reality check. The top 39 players listed on the Order of Merit have all earned more than £100,000. The top 20 have banked more than £200,000 with Michael van Gerwen leading the pack at £1,693,750.

The “Phil Taylor Whine,” not available at your local blind draw, is apparent when the players can’t complain about money, the lighting, the hotel, the food or their hair stylist. Nobody wants to hear a sport star complain while doing what fans would love to do. After all, “it ain’t heavy lifting.”

Nonetheless, the travel may have been to blame when Anderson got drilled 10-4 by Michael van Gerwen in the Auckland quarters – as van Gerwen was well rested having been ousted in the first round of the Matchplay. The “Marvelous One” then took out two darters who escaped a first-round exit from the Matchplay – Peter Wright (10-3) and Raymond van Barneveld (11-4) – to win the title.

The flight from Auckland to Melbourne takes 4 hour which obviously effected van Gerwen as he got eliminated by Peter Wright 11-7 in the semis at the Melbourne Masters. Gary Anderson, still tired after all the flying, lost to Michael Smith 11-5 in the same round. Peter Wright would rack up a win 11-7 over the “Bully Boy.”

The players of the PDC should bow every day to Barry Hearn giving thanks for what he has provided. In addition, they should adopt the attitude of former Chicago Cubs baseball star Ernie Banks who would smile and say, “Let’s play two.” If today’s pros think they have it tough they should be forced to have a chat with the pros from the Golden Age. They were the pioneers who sowed the seed from which today’s pros ungratefully reap the harvest. Ungrateful sods.

The PDC has been a godsend to steel dart players in the UK and Europe elevating them from the outhouse to the penthouse in one swell swoop (which with but a minor slip of the tongue could become “one swell poop”). The loser in the PDC success has been women’s darts in the UK and Europe along with the British Darts Organization and WDF. If reports from England are accurate the BDO is as close to extinction as “remora is to a manta ray.” To date, no sponsor or television has stepped up for either their two premier events – the World Masters or the BDO World Professional. For the male players the PDC is a viable alternate. The ladies are not so fortunate. With the demise of the BDO the ladies of England will have no place to compete, although some European events will beckon.

The PDC is expanding the field for the World Professional with 2 spots available for female players. “No guys, if you wake up and (to borrow from Shaina Twain) “feel like a woman” you‘re not included. Although that would make an interesting story.

To make it to the Ally Pally one lady from the UK and Ireland can qualify on November 25th at Milton Keynes while the rest of the world can contribute a player via a qualifier November 17th in Dusseldorf, Germany.

The two ladies who make the World Professional field will be assured of £7,500 ($9,559.50) if they should lose first round. If they get through the first round they will be assured of £15,000 ($19,117.33) which is a great pay day. What of the ladies of North America? Go to Germany or stay home.

Should the ladies of North America have their separate qualifying for the PDC World Championships? Should there be a North American Ladies Whine? No. Just as the PDC has taken its toll on the women of Europe so also has machine darts created havoc for the North American ladies and to a lesser degree the men.

The only way to judge the North American ladies’ quality, as imperfect as it may be, is through international competition. In the last two World Cups no lady from North America has reached the top 16. The World Masters – only one North American lady has ever won it. That was the great Sandy Reitan back in 1991. The last North American lady to appear in a final was Marilyn Popp in 2001.

With no North American qualifier, the ladies could go to Dusseldorf, Germany, on November 17th where the early the field is already stacked with Russia’s Anastasia Dobromyslova, Australian Corrine Hammond (runner-up in the 2017 World Masters) and World #2 from the Netherlands, Aileen de Graaf. Expect World Cup Champion Vicky Pruim and runner-up Sharon Prins of the Netherlands to also join the party. Okay, using the term “stacked” might be a little out of line when writing of ladies’ darts.

As you read this the chances are good that you’re scratching your head about the statement “the ODC and Philip Douglas Taylor have won 227 championships and title wins.” For the edification of the “oblivious” the ODC has 2 Fallstaff Cup titles, 2 championships for Jack’s Bar, 2 for the Skool in Thailand and a blind draw doubles win at the Gay 90’s Pizza in Pleasant Hill, California. Taylor helped with 220.

Good thing Taylor could count on the ODC to get him to 227.

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.