Name: Simon Whitlock
Nickname: The Wizard
Date of Birth: 03/03/1969
Place of Brith: Hornsby, Austalia
Home Town: Hornsby, Austalia
Darts Used: 22g Winmau
Name: Simon Whitlock
Simon has created a legacy as arguably Australia’s best-ever player – although the pony-tailed favourite is seeking the major title which will confirm that status amongst the sport’s greats.
The New South Wales-born ace made his initial breakthough in 2002 by winning the Oceanic Masters, defeating Brian Roach in the final and earning a place in the 2003 Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship.
In that event, he announced himself as a contender on the international stage with a run to the last 16, defeating Paul Williams and Peter Manley before going down to Richie Burnett.
He returned to Australia and continued to impress on the domestic circuit, winning a second successive Australian Masters in 2003 and a number of further events the following year before making his World Masters debut.
Whitlock, sporting his distinctive pony-tail, made his debut in the Lakeside Championship in 2005 and again impressed, reaching the semi-final before losing to Martin Adams.
He also reached the last four at the 2005 International Darts League, and defeated Phil Taylor in repeating that finish in 2006, where he went down to Raymond van Barneveld.
Whitlock was a second round loser in the 2006 and 2007 World Championships, but reached the quarter-finals of the World Masters later in 2007 before enjoying a run to the final at Lakeside in early 2008, including Ted Hankey amongst his victims before losing 7-5 to Mark Webster.
That achievement also earned him a place in the 2008 Grand Slam of Darts, and he reached the quarter-finals in Wolverhampton, leading Phil Taylor before falling victim to the eventual champion.
After being a second round loser to Darryl Fitton in the 2009 World Championship, Whitlock subsequently joined the PDC-affiliated DPA circuit in Australia.
His domination of the Australian Grand Prix series of events ensured qualification for a return to the Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship, while the summer also saw him qualify for the Las Vegas Desert Classic, although Terry Jenkins was too strong in round one.
Robert Thornton defeated Whitlock at the semi-final stage of the Australian Open Players Championship in August 2008, while he returned to the UK in November to compete again in the Grand Slam.
Whitlock qualified unbeaten from a group featuring Ted Hankey, Scott Waites and Wayne Mardle, and then defeated Steve Beaton before suffering another quarter-final loss, this time to Waites.
Making his return to the PDC’s World Championship, Whitlock produced arguably the best darts of his career in a run to the final at Alexandra Palace.
Colin Osborne – who shared the “Wizard” nickname with Whitlock – was seen off in the first round, before he then defeated Wayne Jones, Terry Jenkins, James Wade and Raymond van Barneveld to reach the final, where he shared the early stages with Phil Taylor before eventually going down 7-3.
Whitlock’s success earned him selection as a Sky Sports Wildcard for the 2010 Premier League Darts, and also jumped him into the top 20 of the PDC Order of Merit, while the £100,000 runner-up prize enabled him to move to the UK from his New South Wales home to compete full-time on the PDC circuit.
That proved a fine switch, with Whitlock enjoying huge success in his first full year on the PDC ProTour – winning four Players Championships in just over a month in April and May, as well as hitting a nine-darter in one other final against Taylor.
Whitlock also enjoyed a strong Premier League debut, finishing second in the league phase but losing out to Wade in the semi-finals at the Wembley Arena.
His UK Open debut saw him reach the last 16 before being defeated by Taylor, who also ended his World Matchplay hopes at the semi-final stage as the Australian impressed in his first Winter Gardens appearance, picking up wins over Tony Eccles, Steve Brown and Jelle Klaasen.
Another Oceanic Masters win followed during a summer return to Australia, and he picked up a fifth Players Championship victory of the year in Dublin in October ahead of the World Grand Prix, where Andy Hamilton ended Whitlock’s chances in his debut in the double-start event.
The Championship League Darts format seemed to suit the Australian well, as he won Group Two and then finished third in the Winners Group table before losing out to Wade in the semi-finals.
Whitlock added a sixth Players Championship victory, in Germany, before competing in the Grand Slam of Darts, although he would exit the Wolverhampton event at the first hurdle with three Group Stage losses.
He teamed up with Paul Nicholson to represent Australia in the PDC World Cup, reaching the semi-finals to go into the World Championship on a high.
His bid to go one better at Alexandra Palace began in fine fashion as Whitlock saw off Steve Evans and Denis Ovens without dropping a set to reach the third round, only to lose 4-2 to Vincent van der Voort at that stage.
Mervyn King ended his Players Championship Finals challenge in the second round in Doncaster, while Whitlock found the going tougher in his second Premier League Darts season, eventually missing out on the Play-Offs by three points following the 14-week season.
He also enjoyed less success on the PDC ProTour than he had in 2010, with four semi-final appearances his best results ahead of the UK Open, where he drew Co Stompe in the last 64 and went down 9-7.
However, a nine-dart finish in Barnsley in June was followed by another perfect leg in Whitlock’s next event as he recorded back-to-back nine-darters in successive competitions – becoming the first player in the PDC to achieve that feat.
His return to form was confirmed with successive semi-final finishes in Nuland in June 2011, and he took that form to the World Matchplay, defeating Peter Wright and Denis Ovens handsomely before taking a 15-8 lead against Andy Hamilton in their first-to-16 quarter-final – only to suffer a collapse as the Englishman won nine straight legs to cause a huge upset.
Whitlock’s response a week later in the European Championship was strong, as he overcame Mensur Suljovic, Colin Lloyd and Wright to reach the semi-finals, and although he was defeated by Taylor the performance capped a strong summer period for the Australian.
Although he reached five quarter-finals or better on the ProTour in the second half of the year and hit a nine-darter on his way to the Championship League Darts Winners Group, Whitlock’s autumn would then be disrupted by a broken ankle which forced him to miss two major tournaments.
He returned at the World Championship, and despite still being affected by the pain from his left leg he limped through to the semi-finals, although his performances against Dennis Smith, Steve Beaton, Michael van Gerwen and Gary Anderson were far from limp before Andy Hamilton, with a 6-5 victory, finally defeated the Australian.
Whitlock began 2012 by linking up again with Nicholson as they took Australia to the final of the World Cup of Darts, only losing out to England in a sudden-death leg as they narrowly missed out on glory.
He also reached three successive ProTour semi-finals and landed a nine-darter in the Austrian Open European Tour event before hitting another perfect leg, this time on television at the Premier League Play-Offs.
Whitlock had finished second in the league table and landed his nine-darter in a win over Hamilton in the semi-finals, before Taylor denied him the title.
He also reached the last 16 of the UK Open – losing out to Dave Chisnall in Bolton – and enjoyed some strong form on the ProTour only to lose out to van Gerwen in the World Matchplay’s first round.
However, Whitlock’s response following a summer return to Australia was superb, firstly as he ended his title drought by winning a Players Championship in Barnsley in September.
He then claimed his maiden major title in glorious fashion at the European Championship in Germany, overcoming Mark Walsh, Chisnall, Colin Lloyd, Kim Huybrechts and Wes Newton over the course of a weekend in Muelheim.
Although his World Grand Prix hopes were ended by Justin Pipe, Whitlock added a European Tour title in October 2012 – at the Dutch Masters in Nuland, where he overcame Nicholson in the final – before reaching the semi-finals of the Players Championship Finals.
His success at Alexandra Palace also continued with a run to the last four by dropping only three sets in as many games before he was defeated by Raymond van Barneveld.
European Championship: 2012
PDC Non-Televised Wins
Bobby Bourn Memorial Players Championship (Barnsley): 2010
Players Championship (Derby): 2010
Players Championship (Wigan): 2010
Players Championship (Austria): 2010
Players Championship (Dublin): 2010
Players Championship (Bad Neuheim): 2010
Players Championship (Barnsley): 2012
Dutch Darts Masters European Tour (Nuland) 2012
Nine-Dart Finishes in PDC events
Players Championship (Salzburg): 2010
Players Championship (Barnsley): 2011
Players Championship (Nuland): 2011
Championship League Darts: 2011
Austrian Darts Open European Tour (Vienna): 2012
Premier League Darts Play-Offs (London): 2012