Phil Taylor confirms he will retire at the end of the year
The 16-time champion of the world confirmed that 2017 will be his final year on tour
Phil Taylor has said that 2017 will be his last year on the professional darts circuit. Photo: Alex Pantling/Getty Images
Phil Taylor will embark on a year-long tour of celebration after announcing his darts career will end after the next World Championship.
Taylor, the 16-time world champion and undisputed greatest player of all-time, announced he was quitting the sport’s main tour on Friday night.
At 56 and with every achievement in the sport ticked off, ‘The Power’ has decided he will turn himself off after the Alexandra Palace showpiece in December and January.
“It’s the last year for me, this will probably be my last Masters so at the end of the year, that’s me done,” he told ITV Sport at the Masters event in Milton Keynes.
“The World Championship will be my last one and I’m looking forward to it now, I’m really looking forward to it. Last one, January, that’s it, no more.”
Taylor — already the most popular player on the planet — can expect a raucous send-off for the rest of 2017.
Commitments in events such as the Premier League will allow darts fans all over the country to say farewell to the man more responsible than anyone for the popularity darts now has.
Once regarded as a pub sport played by beer-swillers in smoky rooms, it is now played out to live audiences of thousands and TV audiences of millions, thanks in no small part to Taylor’s enduring success and popularity.
Sixteen world championships are only part of the story, too.
A professional since 1986, Taylor has won 15 World Matchplays, 11 Grand Prixs, six Grand Slams and is into triple figures for overall titles.
Added to that the first televised nine-dart finish and 18 more in PDC competition, no-one — not even the swashbuckling Michael Van Gerwen — can stand aside Taylor’s achievements.
Retiring for the tour may not spell the end for Taylor entirely, though.
Non-ranking events such as the Premier League and the World Series could comfortably host him and, given those decisions will rest with the sport’s boss, Barry Hearn, that seems likely if Taylor is willing.
“The Premier League and World Series are the ones Barry has asked me to consider,” Taylor added. “So let’s see what happens in January.
“The Premier League and the World Series are six, seven, eight months out of the year, so it wouldn’t be retiring really.”
Taylor beat Michael Smith at Stadium:MK on Friday.
PHIL TAYLOR’S GREATEST VICTORIES
1992 — Beat Mike Gregory 6-5
Taylor’s coolness under pressure was a hallmark of his career and that characteristic was evident during the 1992 BDO final against Gregory. ‘The Power’ fought back from 3-2, 4-3 and 5-4 behind in sets to take the match into a decider, which Gregory led 2-0 in legs. But Taylor hung in there to level and, after Gregory missed six darts to win the title, won 6-5 in sudden death.
1996 — Beat Dennis Priestley 6-4
The second of Taylor’s eight consecutive world titles came against his old foe Priestley, who beat him in the 1994 showpiece. Taylor had dropped only one set in the whole tournament but Priestley showed his class to give ‘The Power’ a fright. ‘The Menace’, at 5-3 down, missed treble 18 with his eighth dart to end his hopes of a nine-darter and then wasted two chances at taking out tops in the same leg, leaving Taylor to finish the game by hitting double 15.
2004 — Beat Kevin Painter 7-6
In arguably the greatest final of all time, Taylor produced a remarkable comeback to deny ‘The Artist’ a first world title at Circus Tavern. Painter failed to make his 4-1 advantage count as Taylor fought back to lead 6-5. He did, however, show composure to send the match into a decider which Taylor won in sudden death by hitting double five.
2009 — Beat Raymond van Barneveld 7-1
Taylor won his first title in three years with a sensational display of darts against Van Barneveld, who beat ‘The Power’ in an epic 2007 final. Taylor set a world record average for a tournament final of 110.94 in brushing aside the Dutchman at Alexandra Palace.
2013 — Beat Michael van Gerwen 7-4
Taylor held off a strong challenge from Van Barneveld in the semis, when the match was overshadowed by a memorable oche spat, to set up a heavyweight showdown with Van Gerwen. Taylor looked dead and buried at 4-2 down but produced a brilliant comeback, despite suffering from a cold, to win his last world title.
PHIL TAYLOR – BY THE NUMBERS
16 — Number of world titles ‘The Power’ has won — 14 in the Professional Darts Corporation and two in the British Darts Organisation
12 — Defeats suffered in 28 World Championship appearances
4 — World Championship final losses
2013 — The year Taylor last won the World Championship
15 — Number of World Matchplay titles
11 — Number of World Grand Prix titles
1990 — The year Taylor won his first major
5 — Number of UK Open titles, Las Vegas Desert Classic titles
6 — Number of Premier League titles, Grand Slam of Darts titles
19 — Amount of nine-dart legs in PDC competitions
2010 — The year when Taylor was named BBC Sports Personality of the Year runner-up