“Coming to you live from The Citywest Dublin!” Double in in Dublin. The darts is here.
It all kicks off Monday evening at the Citywest Hotel with the unique double-start format. It’s a 32-man contest but the one man lifting the trophy next Sunday has to be the record-breaking, history-making 16 times champion of the world. His darting equipment is very much sorted and he is now, quite simply, back to his best. For me, it is going to be a 12th Grand Prix title for Philip Douglas Taylor (15/8). He is unbeatable when he is at his imperious best no matter what his opponents do as Adrian Lewis found out last year at the World Matchplay and the Grand Slam of Darts.
Taylor, who had been in horrific form all year, finally clicked into gear at the World Matchplay in July and avenged the humiliating 7-0 whitewash by Michael van Gerwen on the first night of the Premier League of Darts, by demolishing him 18-9 in the final at the Winter Gardens. He then beat MVG in the final of the Perth Masters in August 11-9 in a thrilling final. It seems to be a case of The Power tinkering with his new equipment until it was perfect and some problems between the ears, because although Taylor’s hand has been shaking in some matches this year, he is not in decline as some Sky Sports pundits have alleged. That’s for sure.
I think Michael Smith (25/1) is a great value each-way bet because he can hit maximums for fun. Smith beat MVG 6-5 last month in the final of the European Darts Trophy, as well as famously disposing The Power at the World Championship. “Bully Boy” has been steadily progressing over the last couple of years, similarly to Peter Wright, and a Major final possibly awaits very soon.
Another serious contender is Gary Anderson (12/1). He has been in terrific form all year, recently winning his sixth pro tour title of 2014 beating Adrian Lewis 6-0 in the semi-final with a brilliant 115 three-dart-average. Hitting doubles doesn’t appear to be a problem these days for the Scot and he was also unlucky to be beaten by Taylor in the semi-finals of the Matchplay in July.
But for me it is all about Mr Taylor. He is a winning machine and is no longer the World No.1 which will not sit right with him one bit. He does not like the fact that Mighty Mike is now the top dog, but Taylor’s drive, determination and sheer competitive nature will see him return to the top of the rankings. It is only a matter of time. The road back to World No. 1 starts on Monday evening against Steve Beaton. The Power is still, arguably, the best darts player in the world, and that will be proven this week at the Citywest Hotel. MVG won his first PDC major at the Grand Prix back in 2012 but I cannot see him winning it this year although I have a lot to thank him for!
So back The Power and it’s just like going to work. You have to wait a week and then get paid. And Citywest goers, no booing Philip Douglas please. He’s only trying to earn a living.
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