A man that helped catapult darts from a 'pub game' to a multi-million pound global sport, Phil 'The Power' Taylor will face his first festive period without the task of trying to win the William Hill World Darts Championship in over two decades. Beaten by Rob Cross in the final of the PDC showpiece on New Year's Day, Taylor will have to watch from afar as the 96 players head to the Alexandra Palace next month to try and etch their name alongside some of the greats of the game.
Taylor, a man that won an unprecedented 16 world titles during a sensational career has hung up his arrows from the professional game, but those heading to London to fight it out for the most coveted prize in darts must give an appreciative nod to the Stoke thrower who has been the man to launch the darting scene to a new stratosphere.
A working class lad from Burslem, Taylor became one of the finest sportsmen in modern times, and has helped ignite a feverish love for the game around the world and a sport that can attract as many as 10,000 people to an arena to cheer on a few competitors throwing a few arrows in the distance.
Taylor burst on to the scene when beating his mentor Eric Bristow in the 1990 BDO World Championship final at Frimley Green in an era that saw portly stars throw their darts in between a swig of beer and a puff on a cigarette. Now, the modern darts stars should be referred to as athletes with only water touching their lips while they are on the oche, and with huge cash prizes on offer (£500,000 goes to winner of 2018/19 World Darts Championship) the level of competitiveness and talent has soared to record heights.
Taylor was the man that pushed the young of today to strive to be better, as during his unrivalled career he served up a masterclass of darts, which often saw him steamroller his opponents with aplomb and he was rightly, and still is, regarded as the finest tungsten talent in the history of the sport.
Unbeaten at the World Championship between 1995 and 2002, Taylor was a phenomenon. His ability to crush rivals with heavy scoring twinned his brilliance on the doubles, rocketed 'The Power' to the top of the darting world, but he also became a well-known personality in the sporting world and he helped galvanise the once negatively portrayed sport of darts to one that would attract huge crowds itching to catch a glimpse of the dominant Potters thrower.
As Taylor dominated his fellow professionals forced themselves to get on the practice board to try and match him, and while Taylor still amassed six more world titles after 2002 he had helped kindle a more professional era which ultimately helped grow the game immeasurably, and the growth of talent has significantly exploded in the last decade.
Now, 58 years old, Taylor can sit back happily in the knowledge that he, along with PDC head honcho Barry Hearn, has been the catalyst for giving darts the platform it currently has, and while the likes of Michael van Gerwen and Gary Anderson are two of the shining beacons currently, they will have a long way to go to achieve anything near what Taylor achieved on the dartboard.
Phil Taylor Notable Career Statistics
World Championship - 16
World Matchplay - 16
World Grand Prix - 11
Premier League - 6
Televised Nine-Dart Finish - 11