Phil Taylor is determined to add a 13th world crown to his impressive collection, and puts the honour of the title above the financial rewards. The 45-year-old will win £100,000 - an increase of £40,000 - if he wins the final of the event, at Purfleet's Circus Tavern on 2 January.
"Prize-money is fantastic - but winning more titles is my motivation," Taylor said and few would bet against him doing so, especially after he dismantled world No 1 Colin Lloyd in the final of the Skybet World Grand Prix in October.
Defending champion Lloyd was expected to push Taylor all the way after winning the Stan James World Matchplay in July - clinching the title with a brilliant 170 checkout. But he was no match for "The Power", who eased to a 7-1 win in Dublin to end another successful year on the Professional Darts Corporation circuit.
Now, having recharged his batteries, Taylor is ready for another assault on the game's premier tournament - starting with his first-round match against David Platt today.
"I think it's going to be a fantastic tournament this year," said Taylor, who defeated Mark Dudbridge in the final 12 months ago. "But the money is just a bonus - I want that 13th title. I am as keen now as I have ever been, although money's not the motivation. I've always said I wanted 13 world titles and that would mean so much to me."
Taylor has been practising hard with protégé Adrian Lewis, who is also hoping to make his mark in Essex. The 20-year-old from Stoke has made rapid progress up the rankings after reaching the quarter-finals of the World Matchplay in Blackpool.
He has since won the PDPA Players' Championship and UK Open Regional Finals in Scotland, moving him up to 20th in the standings.
"It's going very well working with Phil. I'm playing well and we have been practising hard," said Lewis, who will face Dave Honey in the first afternoon session. "Phil is brilliant and his drive is amazing - and he drives me on too. He knows how hard you have to work and he is pushing me on to that."
Taylor is proud of Lewis's achievements this year, adding: "He's done really well, without a shadow of a doubt. I think he can go all the way. There is plenty of time yet and no rush, so he's got to keep working hard.
"We're good for each other, me and Adie. We push each other," he added.Reuse content