The Silencer’s views on PDC Worlds debut, the BDO and more
We are delighted to be joined by Canadian star Jeff Smith, who shares his exclusive thoughts to Sam Barnard for Darts World ahead of his Ally Pally debut, in Part 1 of our 2018 PDC World Championship profile/interview series.
The Silencer is certainly no stranger to competing in Worlds events, having reached the semis and final of the BDO version before, while he has plenty of previous PDC experience too having won a Tour Card back in 2012 and taken part in the 2013 World Cup of Darts and 2016 Grand Slam.
In qualifying for the 2018 PDC World Championship, gaining a wildcard as NDFC (National Darts Federation of Canada) number one, he’ll be one of two North American participants this year – the other being Willard Bruguier of the USA.
Smith discusses a number of topics with us, including favourite PDC Worlds memories, whether he’ll be back at Q-School, the BDO, darts in Canada and more.
So, read on for our exclusive Jeff Smith interview and profile, the first in our series, ahead of the 2018 PDC World Championship from December 14 – January 1…
Jeff Smith player profile
Date of birth: 06/11/1975 (age 41)
Place of birth: Saint John, New Brunswick
Based: New Brunswick, Canada
Nickname: The Silencer
Walk-on song: My House by Flo Rida
Darts used: Signature Winmau Silencers
Management company: TBA
Sponsors: Winmau, British Darts, Projoy
Twitter handle: @TheSilencer170
Favourite double: D18
Favourite checkout: 170
Favourite tournament: ADO Las Vegas Open
Toughest players faced: Phil Taylor, Peter Wright
Player to watch in future: Justin van Tergouw
Darts heroes growing up: John Part, Dennis Priestley, Martin Adams
Best mates in darts: Darren Webster, Adam Stella
Favourite food: Chinese
Favourite film/TV show: Walking Dead
Favourite bands: Anything Classic Rock
Hobbies outside of darts: Ice hockey (used to play, now follow)
Current/previous day job: Own Champions Choice Autobody
Ultimate darting ambition: Playing well on TV
Jeff Smith interview
You’ve had a great 2017 to date, reaching the final in five WDF tournaments. How did it feel to win the WDF World Cup singles, and how did it compare to reaching the 2016 BDO Worlds final?
Both events were amazing in their own right. The World Championship was a much more individual event – amazing crowd and on telly.
But the World Cup is a very prestigious event, where there’s an added pressure of wearing your country’s colours and a team depending on you to do well.
It was disappointing, however, that some of the UK based organisations couldn’t come through for their players.
Describe your feelings after you got the call to play in the 2018 PDC Worlds?
Surprised mainly, I felt my organisation had let our players down by booking BDO regional events during BDO Majors – an ongoing issue.
Thus eliminating several players’ chances to compete at the World Trophy or Lakeside, if they represented their country at anytime.
But I’m thrilled for the opportunity, as North America will have two players to support.
You’ve showed what you can do against PDC players before, beating Simon Whitlock at the 2016 Grand Slam to reach the last 16 and throwing a 170 checkout along the way. Are you confident you can go far in the PDC Worlds too?
This isn’t my first crack at PDC events. I’ve held a Tour Card via Q-School in the past.
I feel that the path I have taken has given me plenty of experience these past few years. I will be ready for the opportunity.
Some in the darts community aren’t happy with the PDC’s decision to award wildcards this year, while others argue that it’s great for the global appeal and further progression of the sport, plus it’s done in tennis and golf. What is your take on the situation?
Mostly the support has been amazing worldwide. One thing everyone can agree with, is you can’t please everyone.
The PDC is a monster money-making outfit. They got there by targeting what they want, where they want.
Because of that, the tour and event money continues to increase for those who may not agree with it. So it’s a catch 22.
What are your plans for 2018? You haven’t taken part in PDC Q-School since winning a Tour Card in 2012. Would you attempt to try it out in the PDC again?
With the current situation in Canada, and by accepting the Ally Pally spot, Q-School is definitely on my radar this year.
How is the state of darts back in Canada and North America? Is there anything you’d like to see change to further increase the standard of players there?
There are several very good players from all over North America.
I feel to increase our standard over here, our players need the exposure of playing in front of televised crowds.
Most of our players we send don’t have any previous experience. Some find it overwhelming.
After the success of the 2017 US Masters, is it time to bring back a Major event to North America? Or at least more PDC tournaments.
The US Masters had a fantastic atmosphere. It was marketed much better this time, and proves it can be done.
I would personally love to see maybe another World Series event in Canada, as all of our PDC related events have been well supported in the past.
And finally, what are your best memories of the PDC World Championship?
Every Canadian would have the same answer… watching John Part take down Taylor – when he was at his best – becoming world champion.
It really had made people want to play darts in this country.
Many thanks to Jeff for speaking to us this week. Join us for the next edition of our PDC Worlds interview series where we’ll hear the thoughts and views of another Ally Pally debutant – Brazil trailblazer Diogo Portela.