Phil Taylor (darts player)
|Full name||Philip Douglas Taylor|
13 August 1960 |
Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, England
|Darts||26g Target Power 9Five |
|Career record||1585-200 (88.85%)|
|Walk-on music||"The Power" by Snap!|
|Organisation (see split in darts)|
|PDC||1993– (founding member)|
|Current world ranking||3|
|BDO majors - best performances|
|World Ch'ship||Winner (2) 1990, 1992|
|World Masters||Winner (1) 1990|
|World Darts Trophy||Winner (1) 2006|
|Int. Darts League||Quarter-final: 2006|
|PDC premier events - best performances|
|World Ch'ship||Winner (14) 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2013|
|World Matchplay||Winner (15) 1995, 1997, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014|
|World Grand Prix||Winner (11) 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2013|
|Grand Slam||Winner (6) 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2014|
|Premier League||Winner (6) 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2012|
|Ch'ship League||Winner (4) 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013|
|Desert Classic||Winner (5) 2002, 2004, 2005, 2008, 2009|
|European Ch'ship||Winner (4) 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011|
|UK Open||Winner (5) 2003, 2005, 2009, 2010, 2013|
|US Open/WSoD||Winner (4) 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010|
|Players Ch'ship Finals||Winner (3) 2009, 2011, 2012|
|The Masters||Winner (1) 2013|
|Other tournament wins|
European Tour Events
UK Open Regionals/Qualifiers
World Series of Darts Events
|Updated on 23 July 2014.|
Philip Douglas "Phil" Taylor (born 13 August 1960) is an English professional darts player, nicknamed The Power. He is widely regarded as the best darts player of all time. He has won over 200 professional tournaments which include an unprecedented 83 major titles and a record 16 World Championships. He won eight consecutive World Championships from 1995 to 2002 and reached 14 consecutive finals from 1994 to 2007 (both records). No darts player has a winning record in matches against him.
He has won the PDC Player of the Year award six times (2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012) and has twice been nominated for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year, in 2006 and 2010, finishing as runner-up in the latter. He was the first, and to date, the only person to hit two nine-dart finishes in one match, in the 2010 Premier League Darts final against James Wade. He has hit a record 11 televised nine-dart finishes (and 19 overall) and is currently ranked world number three in the PDC Order of Merit, his lowest ranking since 1995. Taylor played in competitions organised by the British Darts Organisation (BDO) until 1993. Amidst growing disenchantment with the BDO, he was among 16 top players who broke away to form their own organisation, the World Darts Council, now known as the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC).
Taylor had the nickname "The Crafty Potter" in the early 1990s, reflecting his status as the protégé of Eric Bristow (who was nicknamed "The Crafty Cockney"). However, Taylor soon achieved success in his own right which ensured that this nickname did not last long. In July 1995, Taylor was given the nickname "The Power" by Sky Sports production manager, Peter Judge, during the 1995 World Matchplay in Blackpool. Judge told Taylor that he should have a nickname and subsequently, he was nicknamed "The Power" after Judge stepped on an empty CD case of Snap!'s "The Power".
- 1 Early life
- 2 Early career (1987-1993)
- 3 Split in darts
- 4 PDC career
- 5 Rivalries
- 6 Outside darts
- 7 Awards and records
- 8 Career statistics
- 9 Notes
- 10 External links
Taylor was born to Doug and Liz Taylor on 13 August 1960 in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent. He left school at the age of 16 and after holding a few jobs including as a sheet metal worker, he would spend most of his early working days making ceramic toilet roll handles, for which he earned £52 a week. Although he liked to play darts as a child, he never took up the game seriously until 1986 when he moved into a terraced house in Burslem, living near to Eric Bristow's pub the Crafty Cockney. A few months later, his wife Yvonne bought him a set of darts for his birthday and he started playing weekly, occasionally at Bristow's pub. By 1988, he was selected for the county team and playing at Super League level. Bristow started sponsoring him by loaning him £10,000 later that year to help him get started as a professional darts player and on the condition that he give up his job in the ceramic industry.
Early career (1987-1993)
Eric Bristow sponsored Taylor and they travelled to Las Vegas where Taylor was beaten in the first round of the North American Open and he also lost in the first round of the Canadian Open.Taylor's first title came in the Canadian Open in 1988. After reaching the quarter-final of the British Open and the semi-final of the Winmau World Masters in 1989, he qualified for the World Championship for the first time in 1990. Although he had achieved some success in Open events, he went into the 1990 World Championship as a 125–1 unseeded outsider. He beat number six seed Russell Stewart 3–1 in the first round, Dennis Hickling 3–0 in the second round, Ronnie Sharp 4–2 in the quarter finals and Cliff Lazarenko 5–0 to reach the final. He would then meet his mentor, Eric Bristow. Bristow had been suffering with dartitis since 1986 but had recovered his world number one ranking to be the top seed in the event. After sharing the first two sets, Taylor beat Bristow 6–1 in sets[note 1] to claim his first world title. For the rest of 1990, Taylor dominated the Open events taking the titles in Isle of Man, Finland, North America, Denmark as well as the British Pentathlon, British Masters, Europe Cup and the game's second major tournament at the time, the Winmau World Masters.
Taylor's defence of the World Championship in 1991 ended at the quarter-final stage with a loss to Dennis Priestley, who went on to win his first world title. He picked up fewer titles in 1991 losing both his Danish Open and World Masters titles in finals to Rod Harrington. Taylor regained the World Championship title the following year beating Mike Gregory 6–5 in the final in a deciding leg. Gregory had missed six darts to win the title himself. Taylor has described the win as one of the favourites of his career.
Split in darts
From a peak during the 1980s, the game of darts had lost many sponsors and almost all television coverage. Players felt that the BDO was no longer serving the interests of the game at the top level. In 1993, some players broke away from the game's ruling body, the British Darts Organisation, and formed their own organisation, the World Darts Council (WDC), later renamed the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC).
In the 1993 World Championship, the last unified World Championship to be held, Taylor lost in the second round to Kevin Spiolek. The BDO refused to allow the new organisation to set up and run their own tournaments, so the WDC players decided that they would no longer compete in the BDO World Championship. They founded the WDC World Darts Championship as an alternative. In the first WDC World Championship in 1994, Taylor lost to Priestley. However, Taylor would go on to dominate the event for the following decade and beyond.
1994 to 1998
||This section of a biography of a living person does not include any references or sources. (February 2012)|
After losing to Priestley in the final of the first PDC World Championship in 1994, Taylor began to dominate the event. Rod Harrington reached his first World Championship final in 1995 and, although he had won his previous three finals against Taylor in 1991 and 1992, Taylor took the title 6–2. It would be Harrington's only appearance in a World Final.
The finals of 1996, 1997 and 1998 would all feature Taylor and Priestley in a repeat of the inaugural final in 1994. Priestley achieved the first 100 average in a final in 1996 but still lost 6–4. The following two finals would be more one-sided in favour of Taylor who took the title 6–3 in 1997 and 6–0 in 1998 with an average in the final of 103.98. Taylor's victory and sixth title in 1998 meant that he had surpassed his mentor Eric Bristow's haul of five World Championships.
Taylor's record at Blackpool in the WDC's second major event, the World Matchplay, was not as strong early in his career as it has been in recent times. Taylor lost to Bob Anderson in 1994, Peter Evison in 1996 and Ronnie Baxter in 1998. However, he still won the event twice in the first five years of its existence, beating Priestley 16–11 in 1995 and Alan Warriner-Little 16–11 in 1997.
1999 to 2004
Taylor stretched his PDC World Championship unbeaten run to a record eight consecutive years beating Peter Manley in the 1999 and 2002 finals, Priestley for a fourth time in 2000, and John Part in 2001. Part would finally end the run by beating Taylor 7–6 (sets) in the 2003 World Championship final. Sid Waddell attributed this defeat to a weight-loss of three stone which he claimed affected Taylor's balance and resulted in him throwing "a quarter to half an inch below the 60 bed". Taylor went into the game a 1/7 favourite with bookmakers, but Part raced into leads of 3–0 and 4–1. Taylor fought back before ultimately being defeated 7–6.
Taylor would improve his record at Blackpool during this spell. After losing the 1999 semi-final of the World Matchplay to Manley, he would go on to win the title for the next five years (2000–2004) beating five different opponents in the final: Alan Warriner-Little (2000), Richie Burnett (2001), John Part (2002), Wayne Mardle (2003) and Mark Dudbridge (2004). By the end of 2004, Taylor had won 11 World Championships and seven World Matchplays.
Taylor has faced the incumbent BDO World Champion in challenge matches on two occasions. In 1999, he beat Raymond van Barneveld by 21 legs to 10 in a one-hour challenge dubbed "The Match of the Century" at the Wembley Conference Centre. The second challenge match came in 2004 against Andy Fordham. Taylor was leading 5–2 in sets when Fordham, feeling unwell, abandoned the match.
2004 to 2008
Taylor reclaimed the World Championship in 2004 after edging Kevin Painter in the final 7–6 following a sudden death leg. After the match, having trailed 4–1 and 5–3, Taylor described himself as "a very lucky man" claiming that "Kevin out-played me". Referring to the epic World Championship final the previous year in which he had been defeated by John Part, Taylor added: "Last year was a good final, but this is one of the best".
Taylor would continue his dominance throughout 2005. However, after winning his 13th World Championship title in January 2006, he lost four matches in televised tournaments during the first half of the year. He lost to Jelle Klaasen and Simon Whitlock in the International Darts League tournament, and twice in a row to Raymond van Barneveld in the UK Open and the Las Vegas Desert Classic. He bounced back in the second half of the year to win the World Matchplay, the World Darts Trophy (a BDO affiliated event), and the World Grand Prix.
The 2007 World Final was contested between Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld. The match was tied at 6–6 in sets with van Barneveld leading 2–1 in legs. However, Van Barneveld missed four darts and Taylor tied the set at 2–2. The set went to 5–5 before van Barneveld won the sudden death leg for his fifth World Championship (four with the BDO and one with the PDC). Taylor said: "Of all the finals I've played in, I would probably put this one as the best".
2007 proved to be Taylor's most barren year in terms of major title success. He was defeated at the International Darts League and the World Darts Trophy in the Netherlands. At the UK Open in Bolton, he suffered an 11–4 loss to van Barneveld. He lost to Mark Dudbridge at the Las Vegas Desert Classic, and lost at the World Matchplay in Blackpool. At the World Grand Prix in Dublin, he lost to Adrian Gray. Taylor feared that his career was in decline but vowed to continue until 2012.
Having appeared in 14 out of 14 PDC World Darts Championship finals between 1994 and 2007, Taylor's record run came to an end in 2008 where he was beaten in the quarter-final. This was the first time that he had not reached the final stage of the PDC World Darts Championship. Taylor had been taken to the final set in each of his first three rounds before eventually losing to Wayne Mardle 5–4 (sets) despite leading 3–0 at one stage.
Before the start of the Premier League tournament, Taylor unveiled some new black 26g darts. Despite a poor start to his Premier League Darts campaign which included three defeats in his first four matches, Taylor ultimately finished at the top of the Premier League standings. He beat Adrian Lewis 11–2 with a 112.68 average in the semi-final, and went on to win his fourth consecutive Premier League title with a 16–8 victory over Wade whilst averaging 108.36. He won his second US Open title in May 2008, defeating Colin Lloyd in the final. At the UK Open, Taylor was defeated 10–9 in the quarter-final by Raymond van Barneveld.
As Taylor went to Las Vegas for the 2008 Las Vegas Desert Classic in July, he was in the unusual position (for him) of not holding any major televised ranking events. He quickly addressed this by winning his fourth Las Vegas Desert Classic title. Taylor then went on to win the World Matchplay, World Grand Prix, the inaugural European Darts Championship, and the Grand Slam of Darts.
2009 to 2011
||This section of a biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (February 2012)|
In the 2009 world final, Taylor beat Raymond van Barneveld 7–1 for his fourteenth World Championship title. His 110.94 three-dart average was the highest recorded in a PDC final. His average during the course of the tournament was 104.08. In June, Taylor beat Colin Osborne 11–6 in the final of the UK Open. It was his third title overall at the event and his first since 2005. His tournament average was 107.38.
More success followed throughout 2009 with Taylor winning his fifth Las Vegas Desert Classic at what was the final instalment of the event. Taylor would also win the World Matchplay, the World Grand Prix, the European Darts Championship (achieving an overall 3-dart average per tournament of 111.54) and, for the third successive time, the Grand Slam of Darts in November.
Taylor began 2010 by winning his fifteenth World Championship title. He beat Simon Whitlock in the final 7–3 with an average of 104.38 and sealed victory with a 131 checkout. Taylor lost in the semi-final of the Players Championship at the Circus Tavern in Purfleet. Whilst attempting to defend the title he won in 2009 at the inaugural staging of the event, Taylor lost to eventual champion Paul Nicholson. Taylor admitted, following his defeat, that he had had little time to practice after his World Championship win. Taylor made history in the 2010 Premier League final against defending champion James Wade by hitting two nine-dart finishes in the same match. This was the first time that this had been done in professional darts.
By the summer of 2010, Taylor was the holder of the World Championship, the World Matchplay, the Premier League, the UK Open, the European Championship, the World Grand Prix and the Grand Slam of Darts. In fact, the only major televised title not held by Taylor at this time was the Players Championship Finals. At the UK Open, Taylor broke the world record for the highest average in a televised game by averaging 118.66 against Kevin Painter in round four- he won the match 9–0. These noteworthy performances, in addition to his longevity, contributed to Taylor's nomination for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award in 2010. He was voted runner-up to A.P. McCoy.
However, defeats in the World Grand Prix, the Grand Slam, as well as a surprising loss to Mark Webster five sets to two in the quarter-final of the 2011 World Championship, meant that Taylor began 2011 as holder of four major titles- the World Matchplay, the Premier League, the European Championship and the UK Open. He would bounce back and win his first major tournament in seven months at the 2011 Players Championship by beating Gary Anderson 13–12 in a thrilling final.
Taylor went on to win the World Matchplay for a record 12th time in 18 years in 2011. He beat Mark Hylton 10–8 in the 1st round, Wayne Jones 13–7 in the 2nd round, Wes Newton 16–5 in the quarter-final, Andy Hamilton 17–9 in the semi-final and James Wade 18–8 in the final. His overall tournament average was more than 106.
One week later,Taylor went to Düsseldorf to compete in the 2011 European Championship. He was aiming to win his fourth consecutive European title and did just that by beating John Michael 6–3, Mervyn King 10–3, Paul Nicholson 10–7, Simon Whitlock 11–4 and Adrian Lewis 11–8. He had a tournament average of 105.15.
On 27 September, Taylor competed in Group One of the Championship League and won all seven of his qualifying games: 6–3 against Adrian Lewis, 6–2 against Terry Jenkins, 6–3 against Wes Newton, 6–2 against James Wade, 6–3 against Simon Whitlock, 6–2 against Gary Anderson and 6–1 against Mark Webster. Taylor finished the group stage with a maximum 14 points, a leg difference of +28 (42 legs won and 16 lost), as well as £2,100 won during qualifying. However, he lost the semi-final 6–5 against Wes Newton but still won a further £500 in that match. This took his total winnings for the day to £2,600. As a result of not winning Group One, Taylor returned the following day to play in Group Two.
In Group Two, Taylor won six out of his seven games. He lost his fourth match 6–4 to Simon Whitlock, but defeated James Wade 6–1, Mervyn King 6–4, Paul Nicholson 6–0, Mark Webster 6–3, Wes Newton 6–4 and Andy Hamilton 6–1. He would finish top of the group with 12 points, a leg difference of +21 (40 legs won and 19 lost), as well as £2,000 won in qualifying. Taylor beat Paul Nicholson 6–3 in the semi-final and Simon Whitlock 6–5 in the final to win Group Two and progress to the Winner's Group.
In the Winner's Group, Taylor won all seven of his qualifying games. He beat Gary Anderson 6–5, Steve Beaton 6–3, Mervyn King 6–3 (hitting his 10th nine-dart finish in competition in the process), Mark Walsh 6–3, Simon Whitlock 6–5, Paul Nicholson 6–1 and Dennis Priestley 6–2 to qualify top of the group. He beat Steve Beaton 6–1 in the semi-final and Paul Nicholson 6–1 in the final to win his second Championship League title. Taylor won £6,600 in the group stages as well as a further £10,000 for winning the title.
In November, Taylor won the Grand Slam of Darts by beating Gary Anderson in the final 16–4. However, he was unable to defend his Players Championship title following an 8–5 loss in the last 16 to Mervyn King.
Taylor, looking to improve upon England's second round exit in 2010, represented England alongside Adrian Lewis in his second World Cup of Darts. Taylor began the tournament sluggishly, losing his singles matches against Ken MacNeil of Canada and Gary Mawson of the United States. Despite this, England progressed following a sudden-death leg against Canada and a doubles victory against the United States. A comfortable 5–1 win over Wales booked England's place in the final against the Australian pairing of Simon Whitlock and Paul Nicholson. Taylor won both his singles matches (including a 105.93 average against Whitlock). However, England lost the doubles meaning that the tie was level on points at 3–3 and consequently, would require a sudden-death leg. It proved to be a tense finale as Australia missed four darts to win the title. Taylor also missed two before Lewis took out double five to clinch England's first World Cup of Darts title.
Four days later, Taylor played Lewis in the first week of the 2012 Premier League and managed to draw 7–7 despite being 6–1 down. He averaged 112.79, which was until 2015 the highest average achieved by someone without actually winning the match. Taylor hit the ninth televised nine-darter of his career in the second week of the Premier League on the way to an 8–5 win against Kevin Painter. Two weeks later, he beat Simon Whitlock 8–4 and registered the highest three-dart average in the history of the tournament of 117.35. In week 13, Taylor beat James Wade 8–1 and averaged 116.10 in the process. Taylor ended the league campaign top of the table (eight points ahead of second placed Simon Whitlock) and was the only player to have a positive leg difference. In the 14 game league phase, Taylor had registered five of the top fifteen televised three-dart averages in the history of the game. In the semi-finals, he faced James Wade against whom he had inflicted heavy 8–1 and 8–2 defeats during the league stage. The semi-final, however, was much more competitive. Taylor trailed early on before winning four consecutive legs to lead 6–4 before Wade responded to level at 6–6. Taylor then took out a 149 finish, with Wade on 57, to break before closing out the match 8–6 to reach the final against Simon Whitlock. Taylor looked to be heading for a comfortable win in the final as he raced into a 7–2 lead. However, the Australian stormed back to level at 7–7. Nevertheless, Taylor held his nerve to win the last three legs of the match to complete a 10–7 win and to seal his sixth Premier League title.
Taylor won the third event of the Players Championship in March with a 6–1 victory over Wes Newton while averaging 113.54. He also hit a nine-darter earlier in the tournament during his second round match against Tony West. He reached the final of the fourth Players Championship event a day later where he lost 6–5 to Dave Chisnall. Taylor hit his second nine-dart finish of the weekend in a first round match against Peter Hudson.
In June, Taylor looked on course to win his fifth UK Open title after registering convincing wins over Ronnie Baxter, Terry Jenkins and Denis Ovens to book a place in the final against Robert Thornton. Taylor won the first two legs, but the Scot then won nine of the next 10 before closing out the match 11–5. Taylor had missed a total of 23 darts at doubles and, in doing so, suffered his sixth defeat in a major PDC final out of the 72 he had contested. Taylor then played in his first European Tour event and gained revenge for his defeat in the World Championship by beating Chisnall 6–2 in the final. He had beaten Raymond van Barneveld 6–5 in the quarter-finals and Wes Newton 6–3 in the semis at the event in Berlin. In July, Taylor walked off the stage at the Shetland Open during a semi-final match with Raymond van Barneveld.
Taylor then won his fifth consecutive World Matchplay title and thirteenth in total. He beat Mervyn King 10–8, Ian White 13–3, Andy Hamilton 16–11 and Ronnie Baxter 17–10 to face James Wade in the final for the fourth time. The final proved to be tight and tense, with Taylor edging it 18–15 and extending his unbeaten run at the event to 25 games.
In September, Taylor suffered defeat in the European Championship for the first time in a 10–6 quarter-final loss to Brendan Dolan. He averaged just 89.88 in a defeat which ended his run of four consecutive titles stretching back to the inaugural tournament in 2008. Taylor then lost to Thornton in a major event for the second time this year as he missed six match darts on the way to a three sets to two defeat in the second round of the World Grand Prix.
Taylor qualified from Group 4 of the Championship League winning all nine of his games and concluding with a 6–1 win over Mark Walsh. In the winners' group, he won each of his seven league matches before defeating Dave Chisnall 6–0 in the semi-finals (averaging 112.73) and Simon Whitlock 6–4 in the final (averaging 108.20) to clinch his third Championship League title.
Taylor finished second in Group A of the Grand Slam of Darts to face Michael van Gerwen in the last 16. It was a match that was billed as a clash between the two best players in the world. Taylor averaged 105 but failed to hit a single maximum as van Gerwen hit seven and averaged 108 in a 10–5 win.
Taylor lost in consecutive Players Championship finals over the last weekend of November to both Chisnall and Van Gerwen despite averaging 110 in the latter. He finished sixth on the ProTour Order of Merit to qualify for the Finals where he won his third title. Taylor defeated Mark Webster and Adrian Lewis in the first two rounds, but was then 9–5 down in the quarter-finals to Andy Hamilton in a best of 19 legs match. However, Taylor allowed Hamilton only one chance to win the match when on a 60 finish. Hamilton missed the board with his first dart and failed to hit double 20 with his third as Taylor won the five consecutive legs he required to win 10–9. He outplayed Simon Whitlock in the semi-finals in an 11–2 victory and, with the scores at 5–5 in the final against Kim Huybrechts, Taylor produced a devastating run of form to win eight of the following nine legs to secure the title.
Taylor won his 16th World Championship at the 2013 staging of the event. He lost only nine legs on the way to the semi-finals where he played Raymond van Barneveld. Before the match, Taylor had taken offence to comments made by van Barneveld about not being scared of him and wanting to face him rather than Taylor's quarter-final opponent Andy Hamilton. Taylor raced into a five sets to one lead and withstood a strong fightback from van Barneveld before winning 6–4. After the match, Taylor reacted angrily when van Barneveld attempted to pull him back to congratulate him after their handshake. The pair were escorted from the stage separately by security staff. The next day, Taylor apologised for his behaviour which he described as "disgraceful". Taylor faced Michael van Gerwen in the final and, from 4–2 down, won five sets in a row to become the first man to lift the Sid Waddell Trophy. A day later, he was named the PDC Player of the Year.
Taylor retained his World Cup of Darts crown alongside Adrian Lewis in February. They survived two match darts against South Africa in the last 16 and one against Wales in the semi-finals before facing the Belgian brothers Ronny and Kim Huybrechts in the final. Taylor beat Ronny 4–0 and went into his second singles match knowing that a win against Kim would secure the title. He did just that by virtue of a 4–1 win.
Taylor did not finish top of the Premier League for the first time this year. He won eight, drew four and lost four of his 16 matches to finish third in the table. He played Van Barneveld in the semi-finals who he had beaten 7–3 and drawn with 6–6 during the league stage. From 3–3, Taylor surged ahead to triumph 8–4 and book his spot in the final against Van Gerwen. Taylor started the better of the two as he led 5–3 at the break. However, he then lost four successive legs upon the resumption of play. In the 14th leg, Van Gerwen opted not to go for the bull when on 87 and Taylor stepped in to hit a 160 finish to level the match at 7–7. At 9–8 down, Taylor had left 40 after 12 darts. Nonetheless, Van Gerwen hit a 132 finish on the bull to seal a 10–8 win and the title. After the match, Taylor vowed to ease up on his schedule but increase his practice in order to play his best at the major events.
This proved successful as at the next major event Taylor won his fifth UK Open title. He had to compete in the second round due to being ranked 44th on the UK Open Order of Merit after only competing in four of the eight Qualifiers and not advancing beyond the quarter-finals in any of them. At the tournament, he dropped only three legs in his first three matches before getting lucky in the last 16 against Brendan Dolan. Dolan missed three match darts to win 9–7 before Taylor threw an 11 dart leg in the decider. He produced an average of 106.56 to beat Van Gerwen 10–7 before easing past Peter Wright 10–5 in the semi-finals and Andy Hamilton 11–4 in the final. Taylor's combined average during the six matches he played was more than 100.
Taylor then won the Gibraltar Darts Trophy. He dropped just seven legs in the six matches he played which concluded with a 6–1 victory over Jamie Lewis in the final. However, Taylor's win in Gibraltar was later the subject of controversy as footage emerged showing him winning a leg and retrieving his dart when he had actually missed the double. Neither referee Russ Bray nor his opponent Dean Winstanley noticed the error and Taylor went on to win the match 6–1. Taylor insisted that he had not realised that the dart had missed and offered to replay the match and forfeit his prize money. The PDC released a statement blaming the incident on human error. The incident led to a feud with Taylor's old mentor Eric Bristow who stated: "The player knows if it's not in the bed and has to declare it. You don't want cheats in the game". Taylor responded by claiming that Bristow's comments were "hurtful" and that he would not be talking to Bristow again.
At the European Championship, Taylor lost in the second round to Ronny Huybrechts 10–5. Taylor then won his sixth consecutive World Matchplay crown and 14th in total by defeating Adrian Lewis 18–13 in the final with an average of 111.23, a record for a Matchplay final. His tournament average through 123 legs was 105.81. Taylor's next event was the Sydney Darts Masters which he won by beating Van Gerwen 10–3 in the final whilst averaging 109.46. Taylor continued his dominance in the major events by claiming his 11th World Grand Prix title in October. He thrashed Dave Chisnall 6–0 in sets in the final with Chisnall having to wait until the final set to pick up his first leg of the match. Taylor then won the Championship League title for the fourth time in six years. After claiming Group 1 by beating Lewis 6–1, having also hit a nine-darter earlier in the day, Taylor topped the Winners Group and went on to defeat Van Gerwen 6–3 in the final. At the inaugural staging of the Masters, a tournament which only features the top 16 on the Order of Merit, Taylor cruised to the title dropping just seven legs during the event which included 10–1 thrashings of James Wade and Lewis in the semi-finals and final respectively.
Taylor was involved in a high quality darts match in the semi-finals of the Grand Slam of Darts against Lewis as he averaged 109.76 to Lewis' 110.99 (the highest recorded combined average) in a 16–9 win. Taylor's finishing in the high scoring match proved to be the difference and included checkouts of 167 and 160. The players hit 32 180s between them breaking the PDC record of 31 which was set in the 2007 World Championship final, a match which had 32 more legs than this one. Both players described the game as the greatest they had been involved in afterwards. The final proved to be a more low-key affair as Taylor gained revenge over Robert Thornton for his loss in the 2012 UK Open to win 16–6 and seal his fifth Grand Slam title.
Taylor eased through to the final of the Players Championship Finals but fell victim to one of Van Gerwen's purple patches as, from 6–3 down, the Dutchman won seven legs in a row and went on to defeat Taylor 11–7.
Taylor was 1/50 to win his second round match against Michael Smith in the 2014 World Championship but suffered a huge upset by losing 4–3 to the world number 32. Taylor lost the world number one spot to Michael van Gerwen after the event as the Dutchman won his first world title. He returned to action at the Premier League six weeks later with a new set of darts having switched manufacturers. However, Taylor suffered his first whitewash in the tournament's history as Van Gerwen thrashed him 7–0 in 13 minutes. Taylor bounced back a few days later to win the third UK Open Qualifier by defeating Adrian Lewis 6–2 and sealing the title with a nine-darter. It was his second perfect leg of the day after he had also hit one in the last 16 against Andy Hamilton. However, his poor start to the Premier League continued as he lost three of his next four games to find himself in real danger of relegation. At the UK Open, he was the victim of the biggest shock in the tournament's history as factory worker Aden Kirk, ranked world number 137 and making his television debut, beat Taylor 9–7. This run of form prompted The Guardian's Rob Smyth to write an article suggesting that Taylor's decline was now terminal.
Taylor lost 6–5 against Gary Anderson in the final of the third Players Championship. Earlier in the tournament, he had beaten Van Gerwen 6–5, who averaged 114 and hit a nine-darter. He had also seen off Terry Jenkins 6–4 despite him averaging 111. 24 hours later he won the fourth event following a 6–0 thrashing of Ian White in the final. Taylor played seven matches on the day and ended up with an overall average of 106.59, which included an average of 118.42 against Vincent van der Voort in the last 16. Taylor claimed another title at the German Darts Masters by beating Van Gerwen 6–4 in the final.
His form in the Premier League picked up remarkably as he remained unbeaten in his final 11 matches which included a 7–4 victory over Van Gerwen. Taylor finished third in the table for the second year in a row to qualify for the play-offs. Taylor led Raymond van Barneveld 3–0 in the semi-finals but could only hit 26% of his doubles during the match and, ultimately was defeated 8–5. This was the first time that the Dutchman had beaten him in the tournament in 21 attempts. Later, Taylor said that the six missed darts at double to move 5–2 ahead had played heavily on his mind and had made him nervous during the match- a feeling which he had never experienced before during his 26-year career.
Taylor and Lewis could not complete a hat-trick of World Cup of Darts titles as they were defeated by the Netherlands in the final. Taylor lost 4–0 to Van Gerwen, while Lewis was beaten 4–0 by Van Barneveld and 4–2 by Van Gerwen, which meant that the tie was over before Taylor's second singles match. Taylor later reflected on the first half of 2014 as the worst spell of form in his career.
Taylor threw his 10th televised nine-dart finish in the second round of the World Matchplay during a 13–6 win over Michael Smith. He returned to top form during the event beating Gary Anderson 17–15 with an average of 105.27 in the semi-finals. However, Taylor saved his best performance for the final as he raced into 7–1 and 13–2 leads over Van Gerwen and went on to seal his seventh consecutive Matchplay title and 15th in total with an 18–9 victory whilst averaging 107.27.
Taylor won the inaugural Perth Darts Masters after beating Van Gerwen in the final 11–9 whilst averaging 105.08. He then defended his Sydney Darts Masters title by beating Stephen Bunting 11–3 in the final. In the quarter-finals of the World Grand Prix, Taylor lost 3–1 against James Wade. This was the first time that Wade had beaten Taylor in a major televised knockout tournament. At the European Championship, Taylor lost 10–9 in a thriller to Stephen Bunting. Taylor comfortably progressed to the final of the Grand Slam and a meeting with Dave Chisnall. Despite taking an initial 5–0 lead, the final was by far his closest match of the event as Chisnall fought back to 10–10, before Taylor rediscovered his best form to win another five unanswered legs and seal his sixth Grand Slam title 16–13.
Taylor reached the semi-finals of the 2015 World Championship without facing a top 16 player. His closest game came in the third round where he edged past Kim Huybrechts 4–3. Taylor maintained his unbeaten semi-final record in World Championships as he won his 20th by beating Raymond van Barneveld 6–2 and faced Gary Anderson in the final. From 3–1 down, Taylor won nine of the next ten legs to move 4–3 up and then missed three darts to lead 5–3. Instead he fell 6–4 behind, but again rallied to draw level missing one dart at double 12 for a nine darter in the process. However, more failed attempts at doubles proved costly as he could not take out double 16 with three darts to hold throw in the deciding set and was defeated 7–6. The 32 180s the pair threw during the game broke the PDC World Championship final record of 31 which was set in Taylor's match against Van Barneveld in the 2007 final.
Taylor won the last UK Open Qualifier by overcoming Ian White 6–2 in the final. He lost 10–6 in the quarter-finals of the UK Open itself. In week seven of the Premier League, Taylor averaged 115.80 against Van Barneveld but was defeated 7–4. It is the eighth highest televised average of all-time and the highest to lose a match. He went into the penultimate round of fixtures needing a victory over Anderson to stand a chance of progressing but, when he lost 7–5, it marked the first time in the 11-year history of the event that Taylor did not qualify for the play-offs. He did average 102.95 over his 16 matches, second only to Van Gerwen's 105.15. Taylor picked up his second title of the year at the ninth Players Championship with a 6–4 victory over Anderson in the final. He thrashed Anderson 11–3 in the semi-finals of the Dubai Darts Masters, before missing too many doubles from 8–6 ahead of Van Gerwen in the final, to lose 11–8. Taylor and Lewis played in the final of the World Cup against Scotland's Anderson and Peter Wright and it went all the way to the final singles match in which Lewis beat Wright to win England's third title in the event. Taylor had kicked off the final by beating Wright 4–0 whilst setting the highest individual average in the history of the event at 113.43. He followed that up by holding on from 7–2 ahead of Wright in the final of the inaugural Japan Darts Masters to edge it 8–7.
Taylor's 38-match unbeaten streak at the World Matchplay dating back to 2007 ended this year at the semi-final stage as Wade defeated him 17–14. After the event he slipped from second place to third in the Order of Merit, but then retained his Perth Darts Masters title by seeing off Wade 11–7.
Dennis Priestley and Phil Taylor have played each other in five World Finals, with Priestley winning in 1994 and Taylor emerging victorious in 1996, 1997, 1998 and 2000. During the early years of the WDC, Priestley and Taylor had an agreement where they would share prize money won at events. Following the split in darts, the players had already gone through large expenses to fight court cases that would last until 1997 when they were finally able to overturn a ban by the British Darts Organisation. Their arrangement lasted between 1994 and 2000 and made sound financial sense given that one or the other generally delivered success in the immediate years after the split. The agreement eventually ended when the prize money grew to a level where the players could individually sustain a better living and this ironically coincided with Priestley's sharp dip in form.
Taylor and Priestley first met in major competition in the 1990 World Masters. Taylor won that semi-final encounter en route to the title. Priestley then assumed the upper hand in their rivalry, however, with victories over Taylor in the quarter finals of the 1991 World Championship, and in the British Matchplay final later that year. Their early meetings in the WDC were also won by Priestley, who defeated Taylor in the final of the 1994 World Championship, and in the Last 16 of the 1995 UK Matchplay.
However, since Taylor's win over Priestley in the 1995 World Matchplay final, Taylor has only lost once in all competitions and hasn't been beaten on television by Priestley since 1995. Taylor and Priestley remain great friends, and Taylor has claimed Priestley is the toughest opponent he has faced. At the 2009 Las Vegas championship Taylor was emotional when he beat Dennis Priestley 8–0 in the second round. He later said it was tough to beat such a great friend that way. The pair have met on 44 occasions which include Taylor winning 37, Priestley winning 6, with 1 draw.
Taylor's next rivalry was with Canadian John Part, who won the BDO World Championship in 1994 and moved to the PDC in 1997. Their first meeting in the PDC came at the 2001 PDC World Championship final. The match was one-sided as Taylor averaged 107 and won 7–0. Taylor won their first five encounters including a 6–0 quarter final win at the 2002 PDC World Championships, a much closer match at the 2002 World Matchplay final, 18–16 and the 2002 World Grand Prix final, where Taylor again ended Part's attempt at a title by winning 7–3.
A turning point came in the 2003 World Championship, where Part and Taylor met in the final. Part took a 4–1 lead but Taylor hit back to take the lead, 5–4. At 6–6 Part held his nerve and beat Taylor 7–6 to end Taylor's eight tournament unbeaten run in the championship. Taylor's other losses to Part came in the 2003 Las Vegas Desert Classic (13–10 in the semi-final), the 2004 UK Open (8–6 in the quarter final) and at the 2005 World Matchplay (16–11 in the quarter final).
Part won the 2008 PDC World Championship and became the second player after Taylor to have won the tournament more than once. However, Taylor has a one-sided overall record of 31 wins and 6 losses against Part as, in recent years, Taylor has won all but one of his games against him since the 2005 World Matchplay defeat.
While Taylor was racking up World titles in the PDC, Raymond van Barneveld was amassing four in the BDO. Darts was denied a great rivalry as the two best players were unable to compete against each other regularly due to the split in the game. Van Barneveld switched to the PDC in 2006. Their first clash came in the 2006 Premier League Darts tournament and ended in a 7–7 draw. The return match went in Taylor's favour. Barneveld's first PDC win over Taylor came at the 2006 UK Open with an 11–10 quarter-final success, which he followed up with success in the semi-finals of the Las Vegas Desert Classic, winning by four sets to three. Taylor later defeated van Barneveld by three sets to one in the World Grand Prix.
They then met in the final of the 2007 PDC World Championship at the Circus Tavern. The match has been described as the greatest game of darts. Despite being up three sets to nil at one point, Taylor was defeated by van Barneveld seven sets to six in a sudden-death leg. Taylor responded to his loss by defeating van Barneveld on two occasions in the 2007 Premier League Darts and beating him in the final of the inaugural US Open. Van Barneveld later defeated Taylor in the quarter-finals of the UK Open by 11 legs to four. Taylor lost his top spot in the PDC World Rankings to van Barneveld in January 2008, but regained it in June.
In major PDC tournaments in 2008, Taylor defeated van Barneveld twice in the Premier League, lost by 10 legs to nine in the quarter-finals of the UK Open, but won the World Grand Prix against his rival by six sets to two. The rivalry continued into 2009 with the two meeting in the World Championship final for a second time, with Taylor winning 7–1 with a 110.94 three-dart average. The two then met in the 2010 World Matchplay final; Taylor won 18–12, averaging more than 105, which was higher than van Barneveld's 100.11 average. After the game Barneveld acknowledged "I'm the number two at the moment, and players like James Wade, Simon Whitlock and Gary Anderson are all trying but he's just too good for everyone". The first win for Van Barneveld in a televised tournament after the 2008 UK Open came almost six years later. In the 2014 Premier League Darts the pair met three times. Twice during the league states, with both matches ending in a draw. Then, in the semi finals they met again. Despite an early 4–1 lead for Taylor, the match turned around and Van Barneveld won the match 8–5 to claim his first televised victory against Taylor in more than six years. Van Barneveld defeated Taylor in both their league encounters in the 2015 Premier League, winning 7–4 despite Taylor hitting a 115.80 average, and winning 7–2 in the second encounter. They have now met 69 times, with Taylor winning 51, van Barneveld winning 14, with 4 draws.
James Wade has won eight PDC major titles since he burst onto the scene in 2006. Wade handed Taylor his first defeat in a Premier League match in 2008. Another major win for Wade against Taylor was in the final of Championship League Darts 2010. The quarter-finals of the 2014 World Grand Prix was the first time Wade defeated Taylor in a televised knockout match. They have met in the final of the World Matchplay four times in 2006, 2008, 2011 and 2012 with Taylor victorious each time. In the 2014 Masters, Wade knocked out Taylor in the semi-final en route to winning the tournament. In the 2015 World Matchplay Wade ended Taylor's 38 match winning streak at the Winter Gardens by defeating Taylor 17-14 in the semi-final. Taylor has played Wade 59 times, winning 45 and losing 9, with 5 draws.
During the early part of Adrian Lewis' career until 2007, he was Taylor's protégé having practised together in their home city Stoke-on-Trent and made his television debut in 2004, aged 19, at the UK Open. However, Lewis has kicked on since then and has amassed four PDC major titles including two consecutive World titles in 2011 and 2012. The pair have been part of what has been a feisty rivalry at times. For instance, in their semi-final meeting at the 2010 World Grand Prix, Taylor accused Lewis of playing up to the crowd to put him off. Lewis would win that encounter five sets to four. Lewis and Taylor have met in four PDC major finals during their rivalry. These have included the finals of the 2008 and 2011 European Championship which Taylor won 11–5 and 11–8 respectively, the final of the 2013 Masters which Taylor won 10–1, as well as the final of the 2013 World Matchplay where Taylor averaged 111.23 and won 18–13. The latter involved Lewis playing in his first Matchplay final where he averaged 105.92 and hit 19 maximums (the most of any player to lose a major final). Taylor has played Lewis 60 times, winning 48 and losing 11, with 1 draw.
Despite there being an age gap of almost 30 years between the two, in 2013 Michael van Gerwen became the world number two behind Taylor and has been tipped to take over Taylor's dominance of the sport. The pair's first meeting saw Taylor win 3–2 when the Dutchman was 17 years old, before van Gerwen beat him 3–0 in the Masters of Darts and 7–6 in the International Darts League. Taylor then won 15 consecutive games against him encompassing a span of five years, during which van Gerwen struggled for form and confidence.
However, in October 2012 Van Gerwen won his first PDC major and when the two met in the last 16 of the 2012 Grand Slam of Darts, the match was billed as a clash between the two best players in the world. It was this match which truly started the rivalry as both players averaged more than 110 for long parts of it, with Taylor at one point gesturing for van Gerwen to get out of his way when he paused in retrieving his darts. Van Gerwen took the match 10–5 with it being signalled as the start of a new era in darts. The two then met in a Players Championship final with van Gerwen coming back from 5–4 down with back to back finishes of 164 and 124 to win in a final against Taylor for the first time.
Before their meeting in the final of the 2013 World Championship, Taylor said that van Gerwen's talent was better than himself at his peak and it was suggested that a win for the Dutchman would be a changing of the guard for the sport. However, Taylor fought back from 4–2 down in sets to win 7–4. A few months later, van Gerwen became the first player other than Taylor to finish top of the table of the Premier League with the two meeting in the final which van Gerwen won 10–8. Afterwards Taylor stated that he would reinvent himself and make himself better as the pair would have many battles in the future and that his next target in his career would be to beat van Gerwen. Van Gerwen himself called Taylor the greatest and said that no one will match his achievements in darts.
Taylor then won the next three high profile meetings which included the finals of the Sydney Darts Masters and Championship League Darts. Taylor had won six major titles since the Premier League loss, whilst Van Gerwen hadn't won any until they met in the final of the 2013 Players Championship Finals. Van Gerwen won seven successive legs from 6–3 down before emerging victorious 11–7.
In January 2014, Van Gerwen won the World Championship and replaced Taylor as the world number one, and a month later inflicted the first whitewash over Taylor in Premier League history by beating him 7–0 in 13 minutes with an average of 109.59. Van Gerwen whitewashed Taylor 4–0 in the final of the World Cup, en route to the Netherlands' 3–0 win over England. In July, they contested the final of the World Matchplay; Taylor won 11 of the first 13 legs and went on to win 18–9, averaging 107.27. The loss reduced Van Gerwen to tears on the stage afterwards. In August, the pair met in the final of the inaugural Perth Darts Masters with Taylor fighting back from 6–3 down in legs to win 11–9 whilst averaging 105.08. Taylor has played Van Gerwen 41 times, winning 26 and losing 14, with 1 draw.
Taylor and his former wife Yvonne (born 1963) have four children: Lisa (born 1983), Chris (born 1984), Kelly (born 1989) and Natalie (born 1992). He has written an autobiography with the late Sky TV darts commentator Sid Waddell. He supports his home town football club, Port Vale. He was also inducted into the Stoke-on-Trent Hall of Fame when it was opened in January 2011. Taylor was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2001 New Year honours. Taylor's father Douglas died from bowel cancer in 1997 and his mother Elizabeth died in 2015.
Indecent assault conviction
In 1999, following an exhibition match in Fife, Scotland, Taylor returned to his van accompanied by two women, aged 23 and 25, who subsequently accused him of indecent assault. Taylor denied the charges but in May 2001 he was found guilty and fined £2,000. As a result of his conviction, Taylor's MBE nomination was annulled before he was awarded it.
Television and music appearances
Taylor's achievements in darts have led to guest appearances on television.
He also appeared in Justin Hawkins' solo project: "British Whale"'s music video for a cover of the Sparks song, "This Town Ain't Big Enough for the Both of Us".
Despite PDC darts not being broadcast on the BBC, he has appeared on several BBC television shows over the years. On 2 February 2009, he made a guest appearance in the long-running popular soap opera Coronation Street, playing the part of 'Disco Dave', the captain of a rival darts team to the Rovers Return. Taylor was seen only briefly on screen and had no dialogue. On 22 January 2011 he appeared to present the award for Best Comedy Panel Show at the British Comedy Awards hosted by Jonathan Ross. After winning the 2011 Players Championship he announced he would be taping an appearance for an upcoming edition of A Question of Sport.
On 1 January 2012, Taylor appeared on OMG! Jedward's Dream Factory, an Irish children's reality television show which pop duo Jedward helped to fulfil the wishes of children who have previously written in to the show, similar to the concept of long-running UK Jim'll Fix It. Series One Episode 8 featured a girl named Laura, a huge darts fan who wrote into the show wanting to meet and play darts with Taylor. It was recorded in 2011 when the World Grand Prix was in Dublin.
On 12 March 2012, Taylor made a guest appearance on A Question of Sport.
In May 2012, Taylor, together with the seven other players who competed in the Premier League, recorded a charity single with Chas Hodges and his band called 'Got My Tickets for the Darts' which was written by Chas. It was released on 18 May, the night after the play-offs at the O2 in London, where it was premiered. Proceeds from the single will be donated to the Haven House Children's Hospice.
Awards and records
Taylor holds records for high scoring in darts. His three-dart average per match records are the highest in the history of the game. No player has a winning head-to-head record against him. Taylor has a 80.65% win rate against Raymond van Barneveld- the player with the most wins against him. Taylor is the first darts player to win more than £1 million in prize money.
On 9 January 2007, Taylor won the 2006 PDC Player of the Year award at the inaugural PDC Awards Dinner held at the Dorchester Hotel in London's Park Lane. He was one of ten nominees for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award in 2006; the award went to Zara Phillips. Taylor was voted the 2007 Fans' Player of the Year following a vote conducted on the website Planet Darts. He received the award at the annual PDC Awards Dinner in January 2008. After his fifteenth World Championship victory, Taylor was made an inaugural inductee to the Stoke-on-Trent Sporting Hall of Fame on 7 January 2010. Awards excluding the Hall of Fame are handed out the following January.
- PDC Player of the Year: 2006, 2008–2012
- PDC Fans' Player of the Year: 2007–2011
- Best PDC Pro Tour Player/Floor Player: 2008, 2009
- PDPA Players' Player of the Year: 2008, 2009
- PDC Nine-Dart Club: *2006, *2007, *2008, −2008, *2009(x2), *2010, *2011, −2011, *2012 *Gold Pin Badge(Televised)/-Silver Pin Badge(Non-Televised)
- PDC Hall of Fame: 2011
- BBC Sports Personality of the Year (Runner Up): 2010
World Championship results
- 1990: Winner (beat Eric Bristow 6–1)
- 1991: Quarter-finals (lost to Dennis Priestley 3–4)
- 1992: Winner (beat Mike Gregory 6–5)
- 1993: Second round (lost to Kevin Spiolek 1–3)
- 1994: Runner-up (lost to Dennis Priestley 1–6)
- 1995: Winner (beat Rod Harrington 6–2)
- 1996: Winner (beat Dennis Priestley 6–4)
- 1997: Winner (beat Dennis Priestley 6–3)
- 1998: Winner (beat Dennis Priestley 6–0)
- 1999: Winner (beat Peter Manley 6–2)
- 2000: Winner (beat Dennis Priestley 7–3)
- 2001: Winner (beat John Part 7–0)
- 2002: Winner (beat Peter Manley 7–0)
- 2003: Runner-up (lost to John Part 6–7)
- 2004: Winner (beat Kevin Painter 7–6)
- 2005: Winner (beat Mark Dudbridge 7–4)
- 2006: Winner (beat Peter Manley 7–0)
- 2007: Runner-up (lost to Raymond van Barneveld 6–7)
- 2008: Quarter-finals (lost to Wayne Mardle 4–5)
- 2009: Winner (beat Raymond van Barneveld 7–1)
- 2010: Winner (beat Simon Whitlock 7–3)
- 2011: Quarter-finals (lost to Mark Webster 2–5)
- 2012: Second round (lost to Dave Chisnall 1–4)
- 2013: Winner (beat Michael van Gerwen 7–4)
- 2014: Second round (lost to Michael Smith 3–4)
- 2015: Runner-up (lost to Gary Anderson 6–7)
- Each set is best of five legs of 501 points each.
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- – Lewis Pull the Plug on The Power
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|Awards and achievements|
|BDO World Champion
|BDO World Champion
|PDC World Champion
|PDC World Champion
Raymond van Barneveld
|PDC World Champion
|PDC World Champion
Michael van Gerwen