On This Day In 2002: Phil Taylor Hits First LIVE Televised Nine-Darter

The special moment took place at the World Matchplay at Blackpool's Winter Gardens
10:35, 01 Aug 2022

“For history, for history, he’s done it!” Those were the words uttered from the commentary box at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens 20 years ago as the great Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor earned himself a place in the darts history books.

Taylor became the first ever player to hit a nine-darter live on television at the World Matchplay in his quarter-final match against Chris Mason in 2002. The momentous checkout consisted of a treble 20, treble 19 and a double 12 finish which sent everyone inside the venue into pandemonium as Taylor scooped up a £100,000 bonus for the accomplishment. Back then it was as much a legendary sporting moment as it was to darts itself and it was fitting that the moment belonged to one of the greatest players of all time.

Nowadays there isn’t such a lucrative prize on offer for nine-darters as they are seen quite regularly - in fact, former World No.1 Gerwyn Price hit two in one night in the Premier League earlier this year.

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Taylor went on to win the World Matchplay title for a fifth time and it's fair to say that piece of darts and television history had an impact on the sport considering how much it has grown since. Barry Hearn, who had recently taken over as PDC chairman when Taylor threw those legendary nine darts that day in Blackpool, reflected on his impact on the sport over the last 20 years. He told the Gary Newbon Sports Show: “It’s made up of ordinary people with extraordinary ability earning money they could only ever dream of. It’s not Premier League football, because that’s a world apart from anything else.

“They’re [the players] are all characters and that's one thing we’re short of in sport. These darts players are good, but they’re also funny, they’re prepared to get involved and they realise their life has changed. A guy who was perhaps earning 20-25 grand a year is now earning 250 grand a year. The top darts players are earning a couple of million a year.”

Across his career, Taylor hit an astonishing 21 nine-dart finishes. He was truly magical.

*18+ | BeGambleAware | Odds Subject To Change

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