16 March 1952 |
|Playing darts since||1970s|
|Darts||20g Golden Unicorn|
|Walk-on music||"All Right Now" by Free|
|Organisation (see split in darts)|
|PDC||1993-2007 (Founding Member)|
|BDO majors - best performances|
|World Ch'ship||Third Place: 1981|
|World Masters||Third Place: 1978|
|PDC premier events - best performances|
|World Ch'ship||Quarter Final: 1999|
|World Matchplay||Semi Final: 1995|
|World Grand Prix||Last 32: 2001, 2002|
|UK Open||Last 16: 2003|
|Other tournament wins|
WDF Europe Cup Pairs
WDF World Cup Pairs
1982, 1983, 1985, 1986
Cliff Lazarenko (born 16 March 1952 in Liss, Hampshire) is a former English professional darts player who competed for the British Darts Organisation and the Professional Darts Corporation. Nicknamed Big Cliff, due to his height (6 feet 4 inches) and weight (over 20 stone at his peak) he is well known for being a very colourful character on and off the stage.
Lazarenko was born in Hampshire, growing up in Greatham, where his parents ran a garage. He honed his darts skills in his local pub, The Queen. He later moved to Wellingborough. Before becoming a professional darts player in 1975, he worked as a labourer.
Lazarenko first appeared in a televised match on the show Indoor League in the 1970s. He went on to win several singles and pairs titles. He won the British Open in 1980, winning it again later in the decade, and reached the semi-finals of the World Championship four times. In 1980, he lost out to Bobby George; the next year he gained revenge on George by beating him in the quarter-finals, eventually losing to world champion Eric Bristow. In 1985, he reached the semi-finals again, this time without losing a single set en route, winning the opening round against Singapore's Paul Lim (2-0), the second round against the Swede Stefan Lord (3-0), and the quarter-finals against Northern Irish player Fred McMullan (4-0), but was narrowly defeated in the semi-finals by fellow Englishman John Lowe 5-3. He reached the semis again in 1990, but once again fell short of the final, losing 5-0 to eventual winner Phil Taylor.
Big Cliff made a habit of winning the Dartsathlon (an event made up of having 15 darts at various doubles, trebles, Bullseyes, 25s, and 501 legs) in the early - mid 80s winning the event four times in 1982, 1983, 1985, and 1986. He also won the Autumn Gold Masters in 1984 and 1986, the British Matchplay in 1979, British Gold Cup in 1984, Jersey Open in 1982 and 1983, and the Danish Open in 1981 and 1983. He came to the fore, however, with his 1977 win in the Marlboro Masters.
Lazarenko was one of the sixteen players who defected from the BDO to form the PDC. Although he managed to maintain his popularity with the fans, he never managed to repeat his performances in the PDC World Darts Championship, with several first-round exits to his name, and only managing a quarter-final at best in 1999. In other PDC tournaments, however, Lazarenko showed great promise: he reached the semi-finals of the 1995 World Matchplay, beating Dennis Smith, Shayne Burgess, and Nigel Justice along the way, before losing to Dennis Priestley. He was also a Matchplay quarter-finalist in 2001.
In the mid-2000s, Lazarenko suffered from ill health, losing a lot of weight, and ceased competing in darts tournaments. However, in the 2007 UK Open Darts at the Reebok Stadium in Bolton, Lazarenko made a welcome return to the big stage, and won two matches in one night, en route to the second round. He then won another game the next night, before finally falling in the third round. In 2008 it was announced that Lazerenko would compete in the BetFred League of Legends along with the likes of Bristow, Lowe, George, and Bob Anderson. Lazarenko reached the semi-finals of the tournament, losing to Keith Deller.
World Championship performances
- 1979: First round (lost to Terry O'Dea)
- 1980: Semi Final (lost to Bobby George)
- 1981: Third place (beat Tony Brown, lost to Eric Bristow in semi-finals)
- 1982: Second Round (lost to Nicky Virachkul)
- 1983: Quarter Final (lost to Jocky Wilson)
- 1984: First Round (lost to Ceri Morgan)
- 1985: Semi Final (lost to John Lowe)
- 1986: First round (lost to Dave Lee)
- 1987: Quarter Final (lost to John Lowe)
- 1988: Second Round (lost to Paul Reynolds)
- 1989: First Round (lost to Wayne Weening)
- 1990: Semi Final (lost to Phil Taylor)
- 1991: Second Round (lost to Dave Whitcombe)
- 1994: Group Stage (lost both group games to Alan Warriner and Richie Gardner)
- 1995: Group Stage (beat Graeme Stoddart but lost to Peter Evison)
- 1996: Group Stage (lost both group games to Shayne Burgess and Phil Taylor)
- 1997: Group Stage (lost both group games to Peter Evison and Steve Raw)
- 1999: Quarter Final (lost to Shayne Burgess)
- 2000: First Round (lost to Dennis Smith)
- 2001: Second Round (lost to Roland Scholten)
- 2002: First Round (lost to Roland Scholten)
- 2003: First Round (lost to John Part)
- 2004: Second Round (lost to Steve Maish)