Selecting highlights from the week of February 3-9th would have been thought to be slim pickings until recently. However, the ever expanding global darts calendar and the superb archive of darts records provides some interesting flashbacks:
35 Years Ago:
Dave Whitcombe claimed the WDF Finnish Open, in 1985, defeating “Big” Cliff Lazerenko in the final. Dave was at the peak of his powers in the mid 80’s and would go on to claim the World Masters later the same year. He is often overlooked in the annals of the game’s history. But to claim major titles during that period was not exactly easy. Dave claimed also added The News of the World to his role of honour and deserves to be acknowledged.
10 Years Ago:
Colin’Jaws’ Lloyd got the 2010 season of to a flying start when he claimed the first Pro Tour event of the year. That year the first weekend PDC was held in Gibraltar, Lloyd, the former World No.1, blitzed through the field to claim the title. His run included a 6-0 whitewash over new World Champion Peter Wright. Although Lloyd was beginning to struggle overall he again showed just how talented he is.
5 Years Ago:
Micheal Van Gerwen was in imperious form in the middle of the last decade. An example was his remarkable run in the UK Open Qualifiers in 2015. Out of the six Pro Tour events, that selected the field for the first major of the year, MVG won four and reached the final of a fifth. His run of four consecutive wins started this week five years ago. In the sixth event Van Gerwen could only manage a poor effort of a place in the last four!
The remarkable Larry Butler returned to the top of world darts with a bang in 2015. The “Bald Eagle” kicked off what would be an almost incredible year with victory in the Camillia Classic in North America. Butler, World Matchplay Champion in 1994, would go on to reach the final of the World Masters and earn a place in the Grand Slam of Darts. He also qualified for the BDO World Championships and reached the last 16. All after a decade away from the top flight, and at the age of 57, as we now know from Wayne Warren age is no barrier to darting success, The Bald Eagle reminded us of that in 2015.
The 2020 Pro Tour kicks off this coming weekend, who will break through this year to challenge the established order? Every year the Pro Tour standard is met by more and more of the players.
The days of a player winning four out of six events may well be over. But other highlights will be made and benchmarks set. This week will look for them and try to make sure they are acknowledged.
This Week is a regular look at darting events throughout the history of recorded darts.