Phil Taylor’s nickname, “The Power”, is an accurate description of his outstanding performance before the board. This multi award-winning world darts champion has 13 World Championship titles under his belt, as well as having won eight World Matchplays, three Las Vegas Desert Classics, two UK Opens, three Premier Leagues, seven World Grand Prix, and one World Series of Darts title, which makes him the greatest darts champion of all time. On top of this he has also won a BDO Title in 2006. Taylor’s success has meant that he has a great fan base, leading to many other business ventures outside the world of darts. His performance in front of the board is often greatly entertaining, with him using “The Power” by Snap as his walk-on music.
Taylor left school when he was 16 and had various jobs, but none of these could hold his attention. His main passion in life was the darts he played in his spare time. He would often be seen in many of the pubs in his home town of Stoke-on-Trent, which is where he first caught the attention of Eric Bristow. Bristow was one of the best players of the 1980s and was renowned within the world of darts. He saw such potential in Taylor that he sponsored him to the tune of £10,000, but only on the condition that he paid this back to him once he had established himself. Taylor used this money to allow himself time to practise, as well as providing him with funds so that he could enter low-level competitions. Within a short time he had worked his way into the professional game, and in 1990 he entered the World Championships for the first time. He reached the final, which ironically put him against his mentor Eric Bristow who took the title from him, 6-0. However, he did manage to take one title that year by winning the Winmau World Masters.
Two years later he achieved the World Championship title in a game that Taylor says is his favourite of his entire career. The intense final was against Mike Gregory, and resulted in a tie-break leg that Taylor won. He was not able to defend his title the following year, however, which Kevin Spiolek took from him in the final. 1993 was also a monumental year for darts as there was a split in the game, resulting in many sponsors being lost and television coverage of many major games stopped. Sixteen of the top players, lead by Phil Taylor, created a new organisation, the World Darts Council, that would run all the darts events. In 1994 he saw another defeat in the first ever WDC World Championship, when he was beaten in the final by Dennis Priestly, but this marked the end of the low point in his career and he rose to dominate the sport from then on. Since this initial defeat, he has only lost the WDC World Championship three times, meaning that he has taken the title fourteen times.
In 1999 he faced Raymond van Barnevald, who was the BDO World Champion. This was one of the highlights of his career, with Taylor beating him 21-10 in a one-hour match at the Wembley Conference Centre, that has since been referred to as “The Match of the Century”. His other meeting with a BDO Champion came in 2004, when he played against Andy Fordham. He was leading 5-2 but the game was cancelled due to Fordham complaining he felt unwell, which meant that Taylor won the game.
The World Grand Prix is the competition in which Taylor has faced his greatest challenges, leading to some of his most surprising defeats. Taylor has said this is a consequence of the unusual format of the tournament, which has led him to lose three times in the first round of the competition. But this does not mean that the star has never won the competition, having taken the title seven times.
Recently Taylor’s career has started to wane, with 2007 seeing him take a surprising lack of titles starting with him losing the World Championship on New Year’s Day. He also lost the World Matchplay, the Grand Prix, the UK Open and the Las Vegas Desert Classic, as well as not holding any of the five major Sky televised trophies – the first time this has occurred since 1994.
The Highlight of His Career
At the peak of his career, Taylor made it publicly known that his greatest achievement would be to achieve a nine-dart finish, which is the perfect leg of darts. He finally accomplished this in 2002, during the Stan James World Matchplay Championship at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool. Two years later he threw another nine-dart finish in the UK Open Championship in Bolton, which made him the only darts player in history to have achieved this. Incredibly he achieved a hat trick by doing the same the following year, again at the UK Open Championship. Although 2007 was not one of his greatest years, he threw another nine-dart finish at the International Darts League, placing the record far beyond the reach of the majority of other professional darts players.
Winning Years of the PDC Televised Events:
- World Championship – 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006
- World Matchplay – 1995, 1997, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006
- World Grand Prix – 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006
- UK Open – 2003, 2005
- Desert Classic – 2002, 2004, 2005
- Premier League – 2005, 2006, 2007
- US Open – 2007
Best Performances in the BDO Grand Slam Events:
- World Championship – Winner in 1990, 1992
- World Masters – Winner in 1990
- World Darts Trophy – Winner in 2006
- International Darts Trophy – Quarter-finals in 2006