Dartoids World

Column #HR439 NOW IT BEGINS…

Thursday, November 30, 2023
Column HR439 

After the first couple verses of the “sports” anthem Sweet Caroline comes the refrain…

Sweet Caroline

Good times never seemed so good
I’ve been inclined
To believe they never would
But now I 


For dart fans the good times mark the start of the Championship season.  It all begins on Saturday, December 2 (through the 10th) with the World Darts Federation Lakeside World Championship.  Some would say, “This Is It” (as in the old Huey Lewis and the News hit).

The Old Dart Coach admits he knows little of the men competing.  When the starting gun goes off December 2 there will be 16 men and 8 ladies playing in the first round.

For the ladies Beau Greaves is expected to dominate the field.  That’s not an earth-shaking prediction.  Many feel she’s not only the best current female player but the best of all time.  It’s impossible to judge players from different eras.

North America’s lone lady entrant is Ms. Paul Murphy.  She gets no soft draw when she meets Spain’s Almudena Fajardo which in other circumstances could be a final at any tournament.  The problem is that it isn’t the final but round 1.  Ms. Fajardo, a soft point player, made her impact in steel darts in 2022.  In the WDF Europe Cup she advanced to the finals beating Deta Hedman along the way to the final – losing to Beau Greaves 7-4.  A win by Murphy, a good bet, advances her to round 2.

Three male Yanks constitute the North American contingent.  New ADO President Jim Widmayer gets the call on Day 1 against Patrik Kovacs of Hungry.  Widmayer has a good chance to advance as Kovacs, although he has been around for some time, has been successful mostly in smaller events.  Widmayer has been consistent for years.  He was seen recently in an almost 15-minute interview posted at the ADO website.

Leonard Gates will play Brian Corbett of New Zealand.  Gates has become a favorite in England following his two victories in senior events.  A formidable player in both steel and soft point, he has trouble with counting, relying on his ability to hit “not popular” out shots.

The final Yank to make an appearance is Danny Lauby who comes in as the #6 seed.  Lauby will face the winner of the first-round match between Jamie Lewis (WAL) and Jarno Bottenberg (NED).

North America has been less than successful in these championships for years (a definite understatement).  The late Javier Gopar and David Miller are the only two Americans to ever finish in the top four of the WDF’s World Championships.

On December 15, the PDC World Championship kicks off at the Ally Pally – where first place pays a handy £500,000 (as compared to £50,000 for the men’s winner at Lakeside).  A first round loser at the PDC event takes home £7,500, which is more than a Lakeside quarter finalist.  All three players from Norte America have first round matches, drawing into difficult brackets.

Stowe Buntz who was so special at the Mr. Vegas Grand Slam will face #66 Kevin Doets of Netherlands.  If Buntz is even close to his Grand Slam standards he should capture a win.  That win gets him no break, except more money, as he’ll then face #1 seed Michael Smith.  On the bright side, Smith has been less that dominating of late.

Alex Spellman draws into a more favorable bracket where he meets England’s Ryan Joyce.  Joyce is still looking for his first PDC win after securing his PDC tour card in 2018.  This should be a win for Spellman.  The win would put him in against #18 Stephen “Family Guy” Bunting in round two.

Jules van Dongen faces 51-year-old Darren Penhall born in England but who now lives and competes in Australia.  He got his tour card in 2020 but has enjoyed little success so far.  van Dongen, a transplanted Dutchman, has a better than 50-50 chance of advancing – where he would then face #14 Joe Cullen.  van Dongen can run hot and cold.  Hot and he advances.

The two ladies competing face a steep climb to advance to round two.  Fallon Sharrock has to get by a veteran Jermaine Wattimena who’s not been a winner lately. As an underdog, a win would put Sherrock against a beatable #26 Martin Schindler.

“Miracle” Mikuru Suzuki faces the brilliant German Ricardo Pietreczko who got his tour card in 2022.  He’s been a big hit in the latter stages of 2023.  He took the German championship this year and is ranked #39 in the PDC.  Suzuki’s record is well known but, alas, her draw puts her in deep water.

The final championship event of the season is the Stacy Bromberg Senior Open – January 19-20, 2024, in Las Vegas.  In addition to giving seniors a chance to play and win the tournament, the event will benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

The associated auction will see all money raised going directly to Make-A-Wish.  England’s Roger Nickson donated a Watney’s 1982-1986 London County shirt and artist/darter Neil Dickson has donated “one-of-kind” copies of his famous dart paintings.  These items and others donated by Mr. John Lowe, Bob Anderson, Jerry Umberger all go under the hammer on Saturday night, January 20, in Las Vegas at CD’s Sports Lounge aka CD’s Sport’s Pub.

In a recent interview, ADO President Jim Widmayer is sure to raise some eyebrows.  That’s especially true when he said, I have my reasons I don’t play CDC events.  CDC doesn’t care about their players and doesn’t know what to do to gain more support, it’s just their way and that’s it.

In a moment of Vice President Kamala Harris word salad Widmayer said, The past problems of the organization is the biggest problem.  Then he added, But yeah, looking to getting rid of past problems for the ADO. 

The interviewer asked: The ADO was always quite strongly linked to the BDO.  Even linked in their problems.  Is the link to the WDF now as strong (after all the vice president of the WDF is Buddy Bartoletta, an American who once was ADO president) and might that be helpful in reforming the ADO?  

Widmayer’s response: I talk with Buddy if I need direction. 

The new ADO president took a step forward by admitting there were problems that have been denied for years.  Good for him.  What is not good is that Buddy Bartoletta, undeniably, was and is a huge part of the problem.

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.