Column HR#117 So, you think Phil Taylor is through?
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
So, you think Phil Taylor is through?
“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” It’s then written that she said, “Let there be light.” That was followed with her creation of the world. It’s not that she didn’t have a blueprint to work from. In her own unique way she was able to almost copy the schematic in her mind (which explains why most have so much trouble navigating through life). From that point she pretty much left us on our own.
To help us with our travels she provided “givens” – so we would have some clues. For example: if you like toast with butter and jelly for breakfast and are carrying it and stumble it will land jelly side down. Or, if you have one dart left on a double and your opponent is in four dart range you’ll nail it. If you have just dart and the opponent is on a finish you’ll miss. It’s a given.
One other given, which some of you seem unable to comprehend, is that the laws of age and performance do not apply to Philip Douglas Taylor. On that day when the world comes to an end there will be three creatures left: cockroaches, Cher, and Phil Taylor hitting T80s and doubles.
Just a few months ago the Taylor-haters were out in full force.
“Phil Taylor you suck!”
“Good-bye and good riddance.”
“Flash in the pan.”
Now the tune has changed just because Taylor won his 15th World Matchplay title in a display of brilliance not seen in a coon’s age. Yes, they live a long time. His opponent in the final was one Michael van Gerwen who just a few months ago was “anointed” as the next best thing since Phil Taylor, late night Indian, and $1.00 McDonald’s coffee. The problem: Phil Taylor wasn’t ready to advocate the crown.
On his way to the title, and £100,000 pounds sterling (or 90,909 Guinea), Taylor opened a can of “Whoop Ass” using it at will. In the final he held leads of 7-1 and 11-2 before winning 18-9. He averaged 107 and a meaningless 27% on doubles. When van Gerwen whittled Taylor’s lead to 14-8 he missed a double 7 for a 122 finish. Taylor jumped at the miss pulling away 4 on the trot for the 18-9 win.
There was some minor controversy – pronounced CON TRAV IS SEA – as Taylor wore a ball cap during his walk on. That’s serious stuff. Does anyone out there think that Taylor gives a “oxidized copulation” what you think?
Michael van Gerwen might take a page from the Taylor book as he came under some “stick” when he said that nothing came before darts including his wife. The “Screaming Meanies” got their thongs all in a crevice over those comments. Those who excel in individual sports put nothing above their performance. That’s especially true of darts and golf as both sports are cruel mistresses. Mess with them and you’ll pay the price. When golfer Rory McIlroy stopped doing the horizontal mambo with women’s #1 tennis player Caroline Wozniacki his game improved – and he won The Open. Next he’ll want to be Phil Taylor.
Taylor opened the week with a 10-4 win where he hardly broke a sweat hitting 5-T80s, averaging 101.79. Next, against former World Youth Champion Michael Smith, Taylor fell behind 0-2 on a pair of 14-darters. With three 126 finishes Taylor took six on the trot going up 6-2. He started the 9th leg with T80, then 177, then a pair of treble 20’s and double 12 for the 9-darter. In the 13-6 win he averaged 105.64.
Taylor found himself down 4-2 after squandering a 2-0 lead against Wes Newton. Taylor responded with a string of 7 legs won which included a 160-check. Newton didn’t surrender, cutting Taylor’s lead to 12-6 before losing 16-6.
One of the Old Dart Coach’s favorite women golfers is Brit Laura Davies. One evening at a blackjack table at the now gone Desert Inn Davies said, “Golf would be an easy game if you didn’t have to putt.” Scot Gary Anderson probably feels that darts would be an easy game if you didn’t have to hit doubles.
In America the ODC’s friend George Van Etta was a world class scorer, and guy, but somewhat less as a finisher. He even lost a one-leg game in the Oregon Open round-robin to the ODC. Oh the shame of it. In the final qualifying for the old Pacific Cup in Cincinnati Van Etta went through the preliminary field like a dose of salts. In the final four-person round robin Van Etta couldn’t buy a double. At one point he turned to the ODC in utter frustration saying, “Kid this would be an easy game if I didn’t have to hit a double.”
With the above setting the plate one would think that if Anderson outscored Taylor and had a higher percentage of hitting doubles he would have won. Nay, nay as you know. In their semi-final, which was a “wing-ding-doodle” of a match, Anderson had the advantage in averages 105.68 to 105.27 while hitting a higher percentage of doubles 44% to 38%. He won battle of statistics but lost the war 17-15. How?
Twice Anderson squandered big leads by missing doubles. Down 4-2 Anderson missed 6 darts at a double allowing Taylor to steal a leg. At 10-9 up Anderson missed 5 darts snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Once tied Taylor’s can of “Whoop Ass” came out even though Anderson had the opportunity to level at 12.
The key question here: Would an English dart player sweat more playing Taylor or in the dentist chair?
It’s possible, maybe, that in the grand scheme of things darts fans place way too much importance on the accomplishments – of not only Taylor but all darters. The Sage of Sittingbourne, Dave Whitcombe, may put darters and the darting world in the proper perspective when he writes, “Got so pissed tonight I fell over a dustbin, then fell in the road, then fell arse overhead in a bush. Too dangerous to walk home so I drove.”
Joel Osteen, the American minister, tells the story of God making a visit to one of his flock…
“You may have one wish.”
“I’d like a highway from California to Hawaii so I can drive my family on vacation.”
“That’s impossible but I’ll give you one more wish.”
“I want you to explain life and the mind of a women so I can be a better husband.”
“Would that be two or four lanes?”
Stay thirsty my friends.