Dartoids World


Tuesday, July 12, 2023
Column HR414 

After a brief vacation (wishing all Happy Canada Day and/or Happy July 4th) Toeing the Oche is back!

The PDC and the ADO both have Mid-Summer classics.  The PDC has the World Matchplay starting Saturday with a prize fund of £800,000 with the winner scooping up £200,000.  The runner up?  Only measly tip money of £100,000.

Under the heading of “Fools Walk in Where Angels Fear to Treat” the Old Dart Coach, a chalk eating weasel, is picking Michael van Gerwen to win it all – as is everyone else.  The Wise One is aware that “past performance may not indicate future results”.  That aside, MvG was spectacular in winning last week.  Against Michael Smith, in the semi, MvG found himself down 1-nil after Smith tossed an opening leg of 12 darts and a 155-check.  They leveled when Smith took a 2-1 lead as MvG countered.  At 2-all MvG took off winning the next 3 with a pair of 66 and 77 checks.  At 5-3 MvG took 2 for the 7-3 win.  Against Smith, MvG checked at a 60,64% rate.

The final against Dimitri Van den Bergh followed the same scenario as MvG lost the first leg.  After building a 3-1 lead, including a 12-darter, van Gerwen gave up one for 3-2.  MvG then kicked it into high gear taking 4 with 3 x 12 darters and checks of 92, 84 and 91.  At 7-3 van Gerwen finished the job for the 8-3 win with an 86 finish.  Seems that the drastic dental and jaw surgery that saw him withdraw from the World Cup sharpened his game.  (After reading that darters all over will be calling their dentists.)

The Euro Matchplay final’s saw Luke Humphries get off the “Snyder” as he had lost four Euro finals.  The fifth was the charm as he beat Dirk van Duijvenbode 8-7.  van Duijvenbode looks like the red at the top of a thermometer in Death Valley in July when something goes wrong…

van Duijvenbode was up 7-5 when Humphries laid a 12-darter on him for 7-6.  van Duijvenbode missed 2 at 16, then busted.  Humphries took 60 to level at 7.  In the decider Humphries missed 3 from 20, allowing van Duijvenbode 3 from 50 (where he then missed 2 from 40).  Humphries needed just one to take 20 and win in 19 darts.

The ADO’s Mid-Summer Classic, Charlotte Open, took a hit (ADO Masters Final) when the World Dart Federation’s Nick Rolls, Secretary-General of the WDF, said: “It’s a huge disappointment that we haven’t been able to get everything signed off to make the World Masters a reality in 2023.  (We’re) not just living in a world where we’re comfortable continually kicking the can down the road.”

Which they just did.

The ADO Masters final saw 28 men and 23 women play 139 matches to reach the final round-robin where 16 people played 56 matches to go nowhere.  Unpack them bags.

There were still those valuable WDF and ADO points available in the ’01 singles.  Alex Spellman, after being tied at 2 with Dustan Holt, unleashed three triple digit finishes (104, 100 and 106) to swamp Holt 5-2.  The top American in the WDF standings, Dan Lauby, was nowhere to be seen.

On the ladies side Andrea Taylor would “whitewash” Trish Grzesik 5-0 – this after fighting off last-leg deciders against Cali West, Liz Tynan and Sandy Hudson – to win her first WDF title in 11 years.  Taylor is #117th in WDF points.  Grzesik eliminated Paula Murphy (4-2), the women’s WDF- USA leader.  Grzesik is the leader in Canada.

Here’s a question?  At Charlotte, why do the ’01 ladies pay an entry fee of $35 to win $1,530 when the men pay the same for a purse of $3,480?  Equal my backside.  The answer is that today’s tournament format depends on entries to make money.

This template for tournaments has passed its “use by date”.  Most dart sponsorships add nothing to the prize money.  The first entrepreneur that finds a real sponsor will control North American darts.  They’ll control the sport like Jay Tomlinson did when he found Lucky Strikes Light back in the day (although with darn little help from the ADO).

From back in the day, The Golden Era Dart Players are almost ready to announce the Stacy Bromberg Senior Open set for January 19-20, 2024, in Las Vegas, Nevada.  With some details still falling into place it can be confirmed there will be three events played on Saturday, January 20.  The Ladies (55+) and Gentleman’s Singles (65+) will each have a prize fund of $500.  They will play 501 best of 3 with a $20 entry fee.

The tournament will include a Mixed Doubles Calcutta” (men – 55+, ladies – 65+). For those not familiar with a Calcutta, each “mixed pair” will be auctioned off on Friday night, January 19th. Each pair must bring at least $40.  80% of the Calcutta money will be paid out to the top four.  All events will see 100% of all entry fees going to Make-A-Wish Foundation which provides a final wish for terminally ill children.

A great example of Golden Era Darters is Larry “The American Eagle” Butler.  For young ins, Butler won the initial PDC World Matchplay in 1994.  He did so by beating Jerry Umberger (8-2), Jocky Wilson (11-4), Shane Burgess (11-7) and Dennis Priestly (16-12).  For that win Butler collected £10,000.

Proving there’s still life in the Eagle, who can still soar, at Charleston there’s an event “301 and done” – one leg double in and double out.  Butler blew Leonard Gates off the board in 8 darts with an average of 112.88.

The Golden Era of Darts became reality when a bunch of darters from Philadelphia played a select team from Britain on St. Patrick’s Day 1974 in New York’s Royal Manhattan Hotel.  One of those Yanks was the great Ray Fischer.  Sadly, Fischer passed away this week.

The USA team would win 11-7 which infuriated Welshman Alan Evans who challenged “any Yank to play for $1,000.”  The $1,000 was rounded up.  Ray Fischer was nominated to face Evans.

Fisher offered to play 501 and was laughed at: “That game’s not for males.  Let’s play a man’s game.  The score should be 3,001.″

Ray Fischer accepted the figure and opened with a “ton”…

The match was not close.  Fischer won by throwing a 99-dart game, finishing on d16 as Evans sat on 231.

“That was my proudest moment,” Fischer said.  “I don’t know why they picked me to shoot.  I said I’d do my best.  I hit 17 tons or better and finished with a 95 point average.”

RIP Ray Fischer.

Stay thirsty my friends.



  • Howie Reed

    Astute, often controversial, and always humorous, the Old Dart Coach, Howie Reed (a former rodeo cowboy and advertising executive), is heralded as the Dean of Darts Chroniclers - the most prolific and widely followed writer ever about our sport. He goes back decades with the legends and knows where the skeletons are buried (just ask any of the ADO and WDF old-timers!). Here are four well-known facts about the Old Dart Coach: 1) he is a Republican, 2) he loves the ladies, 3) he can drink most anybody under the table, and 4) he throws darts as bad as Dartoid.