Darts: Taylor determined to check out with another title
PUBLISHED: 12:34 14 December 2017 | UPDATED: 12:34 14 December 2017
Phil Taylor is determined to close out his illustrious career with a 17th world title at Alexandra Palace, writes Ziad Chaudry.
But one man keen to spoil his leaving part will be defending champion Michael van Gerwen, who opens the William Hill PDC World Championships on Thursday.
Taylor, 57, takes on world number 38 Chris Dobey in his first-round tie on Friday and wants to enjoy very moment of his final World Championship appearance.
He said: “It will be a big challenge for me. Chris has made massive strides in the last couple of years and is wanting to make his mark but I can go there relaxed because I’ve nothing to lose. It’s my final World Championship and I want to enjoy it.”
Bookies favourite Van Gerwen, 28, has two world titles and 18 wins on the PDC circuit this year, and takes on fellow Dutchman Christian Kist in the first round of the £1.8 million tournament.
He crushed surprise finalist Jonny Clayton 11-2 at the Mr Green Sport Players’ Championship Finals at Butlins Minehead.
The opening night also sees Coventry’s Steve Beaton take on Irish debutant William O’Connor, James Wilson’s meeting with Poland’s Krzysztof Ratajski and Gerwyn Price against PDPA qualifier Ted Evetts.
World number two Peter Wright, the current Coral UK Open champion, takes on London-based Brazilian debutant Diogo Portela and two-time world champion Gary Anderson, who lost 7-3 to Van Gerwen in last year’s final, plays the winner of the preliminary tie between Canada’s Jeff Smith and 2017 PDC Unicorn Development Tour Order of Merit winner Luke Humphries.
Number four seed Daryl Gurney drew Belgium’s Ronny Huybrechts, while Serbia’s Mensur Suljovic plays 2004 World finalist Kevin Painter, and five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld meets emerging star Richard North as Adrian Lewis, the 2011 and 2012 champion plays Russia’s Aleksandr Oreshkin or Germany’s Kevin Munch.
Tickets are still available at pdc.seetickets.com or by calling 0844 871 8807, with live action on the dedicated Sky Sports Darts channel.