Column #HR95 How flipping magnanimous!
Monday, July 15, 2013
How flipping magnanimous!
During a recent chat a pal of the Old Dart Coach remarked of a common acquaintance, “He has a character flaw. He doesn’t like sports.”
That statement’s simplicity is astounding. In sport it’s “outhouse” to the “penthouse” – and vice versa – in a New York second. If you don’t understand or appreciate sport don’t you understand or appreciate life.
Former World Champion Adrian Lewis has played terrible lately, not “D” league terrible but terrible as a professional. But Lewis played with his former brilliance in winning the European Championship. The win over Simon “The Assassin” Whitlock was worth £50,000 and a jump start heading into the World Matchplay. Lewis built a 6-1 lead and cruised home 11-6 while finishing at a 33% rate. The play of Lewis over shadowed a comeback for the ages by Whitlock in the quarters.
Whitlock came back from 5-1 and 9-3 down when Jamie Caven missed a dart at tops to win 10-7. Whitlock forced the decider with a leg of 140-140-137, double 16 – thank you. Caven appeared to snatch victory from the hands of victory when he left 56 with Whitlock on 146. The Assassin struck erasing the 146. Whitlock reached the finals taking out Ronny Huybrechts 11-7.
Adrian Lewis reached the finals with slam-bang 11-8 win over Michael van Gerwen. Lewis finished at a 50% rate as opposed to van Gerwen’s 31%. The win for Lewis moves him to within £47,000 – pounds sterling – of the number two spot in the Order of Merit behind van Gerwen.
Lewis leads by a bunch.
Those not part of the darting community have little appreciation for the sport of those that play. Outsiders consider dart players drunks and bums who play a simple game in the pubs of Motha England as something to do when not swilling lager. With that characterization comes the connotation of lying, cheating and other bar game stereotypes.
There’s “gamesmanship” whenever dart players congregate for competition and a pint. “An unexpected cough,” the “unexplained urge to whistle” or “flicking the flights.” It’s the norm.
In the “good old days” some players at the highest level got “favours” by the “power elite.”
With the PDC and television came an added responsibility and accountability. Betting interests are a large part of today’s sport with their infusion of money as sponsors and advertisers. Example? Next up for the PDC is the £400,000 BetVictor World Matchplay.
It’s oft quoted that “rugby is a sport for hooligans played by gentleman whereas soccer is a game for gentleman played by hooligans.” Darts? The PDC likes to associate itself with “the gentleman’s” game of golf, a sport that purports to police itself. That of course is “Horse Hockey.”
That myth was shattered at The Masters when Tiger Woods got caught cheating. He signed an incorrect score card. Under the rules of golf that calls for disqualification. Was Tiger disqualified? You must be joking. He got a two stroke penalty, a pat on the head and sent on his way. When Ernie Ells was told of the decision he reacted with a wry smile and, “That right?”
Sir Nick Faldo didn’t beat around the bush. “Dreadful,” was his summation as he called on Woods to withdraw from the competition. “He should consider the mark this will leave on his legacy.”
Clearly the rules of golf, if not ignored, were altered or shaped. Why? Because Tiger Woods is Tiger Woods. He’s The Man.
Some said, “He’s a black man in the South at a tournament that has been accused of racism in the past.” Maybe. Tiger is half Thai (which might explain his actions).
Phil Taylor is to darts as Tiger is to golf.
Prize money and television ratings have shot through the roof because of Woods and Taylor. Both have became the face of their sport. Like Woods, Taylor’s public persona has been polished and protected by “The Lords of the Game.”
Taylor survived an “incident” in a caravan with the help of a selective memory and good lawyering. Now he has been given a pass for what many perceive as the ultimate sport sin. Cheating. Some say, “If you ain’t cheating you ain’t trying hard enough.” Wrong!
Baseball players Barry Bonds and Mark Maguire will always have their home run records followed by an asterisk that says, “They cheated.”
Taylor’s records should also.
The incident occurred during Taylor’s second round match at the Gibraltar Darts Trophy event during his 6-1 win over Dean Winstanley.
“Taylor finished 86 for a 14-darter to open the game, before Winstanley leveled on double five. The Yorkshireman then missed tops for a 154 finish as Taylor hit the same bed to move 2-1 up, before punishing two misses from Winstanley, on the wires of double eight and four, by taking out 68 to lead 3-1.”
The problem is Taylor DID NOT take out 68…
Wanting 68, Taylor hit a 5, then triple 13 to leave 24. His third dart was outside the double 12 “on the wire.”
Match referee Russ Bray called game shot as Taylor removed his darts. A view of the YouTube video below – provides by the ODC’s gal-pal SSK – clearly shows the dart out, the marker preparing to write 24 remaining as Bray called game.
THE PDC issued the following statement…
“Following speculation and discussion the PDC can confirm… it has reviewed footage that the dart landed outside the double 12 segment. Both Taylor and match referee Russ Bray have confirmed they were unaware of this.”
Taylor unaware? That simply stretches credulity to unbelievable lengths. As one player said, “Unfathomable.”
“Winstanley did not raise his concerns at the time.” Oh I get it. It’s Winstanley’s fault because he didn’t point out that Taylor cheated.
Tommy Cox is the PDC Tournament Director and one not to be trifled with. You confront him at your own risk. His scowl would have Genghis Khan cowering in terror.
“I spoke with both players and the referee. Phil offered to replay the match.”
As the Church Lady, played by Dana Carvey on Saturday Night Live, would say, “Well isn’t that just precious.”
Taylor gets caught cheating and lying but offers a “do-over.”
How flipping magnanimous.
Cox continued, “I would like to reassure the public that fairness, transparency and integrity are top priorities of the PDC and this unusual episode is purely attributable to a rare human error from the referee.” Cox forgot to add “and the PDC is trying to cover Taylor’s ass.”
The ODC is NOT nor will he ever be asked to serve as the enforcement arm of the PDC… but since you ask here’s what the ODC would have done: 1) strip Taylor of all match wins after he cheated, 2) take away all prize money, redistributing it to those players – starting with Winstanley – who lost to him and 3) suspend Taylor for 5 months (six months would put him out of the World Championships and a person can only go so far with this integrity stuff).
How ironic that the same week they are running the bulls in Pamplona – where people get tossed around by bulls – Tommy Cox returns the favor.
Stay thirsty my friends.