Philip Douglas Taylor (born August 13, 1960) is a 13 time world champion English Darts players whose nickname is The Power. Taylor has accumulated 13 World Championship titles and over 75 other major tournament wins which makes him the most successful darts player of all-time.
By 1990, he qualified to play in the World Championships for the first time - and beat Russell Stewart, Dennis Hickling, Ronnie Sharp and Cliff Lazarenko on his way to the final. In the final he met his mentor Eric Bristow and proceeded to beat him 6 sets to 1 to claim the first of his world titles.
The defence of his title in 1991 ended at the quarter-final stage to Dennis Priestley who went on to win his first world title and that would be the first of many clashes between the two players. Taylor went on to win the other major in the game - the Winmau World Masters in 1990 to become only the third player to hold both titles at the same time.
Taylor regained the World Championship in 1992 after a final which Taylor still lists as the favourite of his illustrious career. . It was a classic encounter against Mike Gregory which was decided by a tie-break leg in the final set of the match.
Taylor lost to Dennis Priestley in the first ever WDC World Championship in 1994 - but would then go on to dominate the event for next decade and beyond.
There were still two versions of the World Championship in operation each year, but 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. In 2004, he beat Andy Fordham having led 5-2 (sets) when the match was abandoned due to Fordham complaining of feeling unwell.
Taylor's overall list of titles is unprecedented. As well as 13 World Championships, he has won nine World Matchplays, seven World Grand Prix, four Las Vegas Desert Classics, two UK Opens, four Premier Leagues (remaining unbeaten for 44 matches during the first 3 tournaments), one World Series Of Darts title and one Grand Slam of Darts title. He has even won a BDO title in 2006, the World Darts Trophy, when the Dutch organisers invited PDC players for the first time. Away from the television cameras, Taylor has claimed 28 PDC Pro Tour titles another record.
Taylor also holds numerous records for high scoring in darts, his three-dart average per match records are higher than anyone else in the history of the game. He has also achieved more televised nine-dart finishes than anyone and the most overall in major events.
Taylor is the first darts player to win more than £1 million in prize money.
He finally made television history by achieving the feat for the first time on live British television in 2002, at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool, Lancashire, during his quarter final match against Chris Mason in the Stan James World Matchplay Championship. He hit 7 consecutive treble 20s, followed by treble 19 and double 12.
In 2004, he repeated the feat in Bolton again live on television during a match in the UK Open Championship against Matt Chapman, making him the only player in the game's history ever to have achieved the feat more than once on television.
On 12 June, 2005 he achieved his third 9 Darter on television, during a semi final clash in the 2005 UK Open Championship against Roland Scholten. He hit seven treble twenties followed by treble 19 and double 12. He went on to win the competition beating Mark Walsh in the final.
Taylor also managed to achieve a nine-darter on Dutch television on May 8, 2007 at the 2007 International Darts League against Raymond van Barneveld. His prize for this achievement was an Opel Tigra Twin Top valued at €26,000. Taylor then donated the prize to a friend, Raymond Penninkhof from Pendon Darts who had been involved in an accident the previous weekend and had his van written off.
On June 9, 2007 at the UK Open, Taylor achieved a nine dart finish in his fifth round match against Wes Newton. It was his fifth televised perfect game and the third time he had achieved it at the UK Open in Bolton. He hit seven treble twenties followed by treble 19 and double 12. He earned a £20,000 bonus for his achievement, which was given to him by the P.D.C. Taylor went on to win the game 11-5.
On March 20, 2008 in the PDC Premier League at the Brighton Centre, Taylor hit his 6th 9-dart finish. This was televised on Sky Sports as a replay on the latter stages of the live show. This was because the 9-darter he hit was not during his match with Wade, but was hit during his 9-dart warm up. He successfully hit a maximum of 180 (3xTreble 20), a 174 (1xTreble 20+2xTreble 19), and to finish he hit 147 (1xTreble 20+1xTreble 17+1xDouble 18). Although it is his 6th televised 9-darter it was only truly seen live by the people surrounding the playing area, and as previously stated, was only seen publicly live on television as a replay later in the show. It was declared as an unofficial 9-dart finish. The final score in the match was Wade 4-8 Taylor.
On June 7, 2008, Taylor hit his fourth nine-dart finish at the UK Open at the Reebok Stadium, Bolton against Jamie Harvey, his sixth live televised nine-darter in all. Taylor achieved the feat by hitting a 180, followed by a 177 (2xTreble 20 and 1xTreble 19) and then finishing with a checkout of 144 (2xTreble 20 and 1xDouble 12). He earned £25,000 for his achievement, given by the PDC and tournament sponsors Blue Square refunded all losing bets, paying out around £50,000 pounds in the process. Taylor went on to win the match by 9 legs to 1.
He has lost only four matches at the PDC World Championships since its inception in 1994, and reached the final in each of its first 14 years. His defeats in the 1994 final to Dennis Priestley, the 2003 final to John Part, the 2007 final to Raymond van Barneveld and his 5 sets to 4 defeat to Wayne Mardle in the quarter-finals in 2008 prove that he is human and that there are always threats to his dominance.
The World Grand Prix is possibly the tournament that Phil has suffered the most surprising defeats of his career. The unusual format of the tournament is that players must start a leg on a double and play shorter first round matches (best of 3 sets). Taylor has three times suffered first round defeats in this event. He lost to qualifier Kevin Painter in 2001, to Andy Callaby in 2004, and to Adrian Gray in 2007. On the other seven occasions that he has progressed through the first round, Taylor has won the tournament.
2007 proved to be Taylor's most barren run for major title success. Having lost his World Championship title on New Year's Day, he also suffered defeats at the IDL and WDT in Holland, the UK Open in Bolton, Las Vegas Desert Classic, World Matchplay in Blackpool, and the World Grand Prix in Dublin. A heavy 4-11 loss in Bolton to van Barneveld and shock defeats by Mark Dudbridge in Vegas and then to Adrian Gray in Dublin led to Taylor saying that he would have to "think about his career, before later vowing he would continue until 2012.
He ended 2007 without holding any of the five Sky televised major trophies for the first time since the PDC started in 1994 - although he did clinch two of the biggest tournaments and pay cheques of the year by clinching the 2007 Premier League in May and the inaugural Grand Slam of Darts in November. He also won the U.S. Open and the Emperors Palace South African Masters.
He enlisted the help of a new set of darts to begin his "comeback". Despite a poor start to his Premier League Darts camapign, with 3 defeats in his first four matches, Taylor finished top of the Premier League table with a string of some of the finest play of his career. He set a Premier League record by beating Adrian Lewis 11-1 with a 112.68 average in the semi-final and went on to take his fourth consecutive title with a 16-8 victory over James Wade (average 108.36).
During the year to-date, has won a record thirteen non-televised PDC Pro Tour events and his second US Open title in May 2008, defeating Colin Lloyd in the final. However, he was defeated (10-9) in the quarter-finals of the U.K. Open by rival Raymond van Barneveld, despite having recording the highest ever 3-dart average on television, 114.53. in his previous match against Wes Newton (along with a 9 dart leg earlier in the tournament).
In July, Taylor claimed a major televised tournament victory for the first time since the World Grand Prix in 2006, winning his fourth Las Vegas Desert Classic title. Taylor advanced through the semi-finals, taking out 11 out of 13 doubles in defeating Roland Scholten 11-2. He then prevailed against James Wade in the final, winning 13 legs to 7 with a 105.53 three-dart average.
On the 26th of July, Taylor claimed his 9th World Matchplay title, defeating James Wade 18-9, and averaging 109.47 in the final. During the 25th leg of the match, both players set themselves up for 9 dart finish, although Wade missed the T19 and Taylor failed to hit the T20. Taylor ended the match with a 132 checkout, hitting the bull even though it was covered by another dart, by moving to the far side of the oche. Commentator Sid Waddell later claimed it was the best shot he had ever seen.
In October 2008, he retained his Emperors Palace South African Masters darts title by defeating John Part in the final by 5 legs to 2.
The split in darts possibly cost the game of the rivalries that existed between Eric Bristow, John Lowe, Jocky Wilson and others during the eighties. The greatest rivalry was possibly between the two organisations instead of between players. But Taylor has had at least three great rivals during his career.
First of all Dennis Priestley, who beat Taylor in the first ever PDC world final would go on to contest a total of five World Finals with the Power. Overall though Taylor came out on top in their battles winning the other four world titles and several other major clashes during the subsequent years. Priestley's 1994 World Title victory over Taylor was his last head-to-head win on television. Taylor and Priestley remain great friends and Taylor has claimed Priestley is the toughest opponent he has ever faced.
Taylor's next rival was Canadian John Part who won the BDO World Championship in 1994 and moved to the PDC in 1997. Part never had too much success in the PDC until 2001, where he met Taylor in the PDC World Championship final. Taylor however averaged 107 in his best ever performance in a World Championship final and won 7-0, dropping only three legs. Part did not lie down however and came back at Taylor in the 2002 World Matchplay final, only just being beaten 18-16 in one of the longest games ever seen at the tournament. As Part and Taylor became the top 2 players in the world they also met in the 2002 World Grand Prix final, where Taylor again ended Part's run 7-3.
The turning point came in the monumental 2003 World Championship, where Part and Taylor met once again in the final. Part soon took a 4-1 lead before 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 8 tournament unbeaten run in the championship. Part failed to defend his title however and Taylor won it back in 2004, beating Kevin Painter 7-6 in another classic. Back in the 2003 Las Vegas Desert Classic Part beat Taylor in the semi-finals (though he lost in the final) as he began to gain a reputation as the 'Taylor-killer' in televised events. Taylor gained revenge though beating Part 7-2 in the 2003 World Grand Prix final. The pair had two more televised tussles in 2004, with Taylor beating Part in the 2004 World Matchplay semi-final though Part beat Taylor in the 2004 UK Open quarter-final (again, he lost in the final).
Though Part dropped down the rankings somewhat in 2005 he gave Taylor a great fright in the 2005 UK Open. At 10-6 up Part only needed one more leg to knock the Power out, but Taylor hit back and won 11-10. Part gained revenge in the 2005 World Matchplay however, comprehensively beating Taylor 16-11 to end The Power's dreams of a grand slam (once again however Part lost in the final). Since then Taylor has won all of his televised games against Part, however Part is the current PDC World Champion and therefore is the only man other than Taylor to have won the PDC World Championship more than once. Taylor frequently gives credit to Part in television interviews and there remains great respect between the two.
Taylor's current great rival is Raymond van Barneveld. Whilst Taylor was clocking up World titles in the PDC, van Barneveld was amassing four in the BDO. Darts was denied a great rivalry as the two players were unable to compete against each other regularly due to the split in the game. That was until Barneveld's switch to the PDC in 2006.
Their first P.D.C. 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 4 sets to 3. However, Taylor obtained revenge by defeating van Barneveld by 3 sets to 1 in the World Grand Prix.
Their biggest clash to date came on New Years Day 2007 in the final of the PDC World Championship at the Circus Tavern. The match has been described by many as the greatest game of darts ever. Despite being 3 sets to 0 up at one point, Taylor was defeated by Barneveld 7 sets to 6 in a sudden-death leg in the 13th set.
However, Taylor responded to his loss by defeating van Barneveld on two occasions in the Premier League Darts and beating him in the final of the inaugural U.S. Open, before the Dutchman obtained revenge defeating Phil in the quarter-finals of the U.K. Open by 11 legs to 4.
Taylor lost his top spot in the PDC World Rankings to van Barneveld in January 2008, but regained it in June. However, as Barneveld is still seeded second in the rankings they should be kept apart in tournament seedings until the later stages of the event.
In major P.D.C. tournaments in 2008, Taylor defeated Barneveld twice in the Premier League Darts, but lost by 10 legs to 9 in the quarter-finals of the U.K. Open.
They have now met over 30 times, with Taylor having the majority of victories . Despite their intense rivalry, the two remain great friends, frequently embracing following the conclusion of matches.
Taylor's battles with James Wade also have set the stage for a new rivalry. In 2008, Wade handed Taylor his first defeat in a Premier League event, but Taylor regained form and won subsequent matches against him (including the final). Although Wade has won three major tournaments, he has yet to beat Taylor in a head-to-head matchup. The two met in the finals of the Las Vegas Desert Classic and World Matchplay, with Taylor winning both matches. But it is clear that Wade has set his sights upon Taylor and the two continue to set new standards in darts -- all but ensuring future competitions between them.
The one blemish on Taylor's career is an incident after a 1999 exhibition match in Scotland. Two young women, aged 23 and 25, accompanied Taylor back to his motorhome after the competition and later accused him of sexual assault. Taylor denied the charges but he was found guilty of a minor offence and fined £2000 . As a result, his MBE nomination from the 2001 New Year's honours was cancelled and annulled in May 2002.
On December 28th 2006 Phil Taylor faced Chris Mason in the 2007 World Championships. In the build-up to the match, Mason had an interview with a British Newspaper saying that Phil Taylor was big-headed about his achievements. Taylor defeated Mason but the match was overshadowed by comments made by Mason to Taylor following the match which were unheard on TV. Phil Taylor then confirmed in a post match interview that Mason had been disrespectful again, causing Taylor to storm off. Mason apologised to Taylor a week later.
His love of poker was discussed on "Heads Up with Richard Herring" and he has also been a regular competitor in the various celebrity televised poker tournaments.
In 2004, he teamed with Sharon Kelly to record the song, "Better Than the Best," which was never officially released. He appeared in British Whale's video for "This Town Ain't Big Enough For Both Of Us" which featured a mock darts game against Justin Hawkins of The Darkness in 2005.
Sid Waddell ; MY LIFE IN MEDIA ++ 'Phil Taylor Heard Me Going Berserk in the Commentary Box When He Was about to Throw for a Nine-Darter. He Missed'
Dec 18, 2006; Sid Waddell , 66, is Britain's voice of darts. He grew up in Alnwick, the son of Northumberland miner, and got a scholarship to...
DARTS: THE POWER AND THE GLORY; but Is Darts' Phil Taylor Up There with Legends like Ali, Woods and Bradman? Sid Waddell Certainly Thinks So!
Jan 07, 2002; Byline: NICK PARKINSON PHIL TAYLOR was hailed "Britain's greatest living sportsman" after winning a 10th world darts title at...
'Being on That Stage Is Better Than Making Love' ; an E-Mail Conversation With. Bobby George ++ Representing America at Darts in 1978; Which Stars Had to Fight off Groupies; Why Phil Taylor Still Plays Second Fiddle
Jan 01, 2007; The Lakeside World Professional Darts Championships get under way on Saturday. Who's your tip for the top this year and why? It...