It is one of those hackneyed facts that everyone trots out at this time of year but even so, can you believe it’s 346 days until the next time anyone pistons their fists into the air and shouts along to “Chase the Sun” by Planet Funk: “Der der der der Der der der der Der der der der Der der da duh. Oi! Oi! Oi!”
There can be no doubt that the latest PDC World Championship was a true classic, arguably the greatest ever, but in the steamy heat of the Alexandra Palace an unlikely hero has been forged.
From the business end of the tournament onwards, this was the year when the old pros – Phil Taylor, Raymond van Barneveld – had to beat not just the bright new genius, Michael van Gerwen, but summon up the strength to overcome themselves, to banish the spectre of their own decline.
And yet, the title was won by Gary Anderson, a 44-year-old Scot who, while by no means a journeyman, was a 16-1 shot when the tournament started, and who did it the hard way, vanquishing Van Gerwen in the semi-finals and beating the greatest of them all, Taylor, over a final that went the full distance.
“It’s always an honour to be on the stage with that man. He’s one of my biggest heroes and to get one over on him is even better,” Anderson said of Taylor on Sunday night. Now he has beaten him, fair and square.
Anderson threw 65 180 maximums over the course of the tournament, a record, and it would have been 66 had his third dart, at a crucial moment of the final, not knocked his other two clean out the board, an extraordinarily unfortunate event that he briefly struggled to overcome.
He is the first Scotsman to win the PDC event since it was formed via a breakaway from the British Darts Organisation in 1992. Les “McDanger” Wallace has won – in his kilt – since then in the BDO event. But before that, there was only the now fabled Jocky Wilson.
Anderson was playing in the lesser organisation as recently as six years ago, when he lost to Tony O Shea at the Lakeside Pavilion and threw his darts in the lake.
Back in 1992, the first prize for the event was £16,000, a quarter of the overall prize pot of £64,000. Now, Anderson has won £250,000, a fifth of a total prize of £1.25m.
In darts currency, and at Alexandra Palace prices, that equates to around 312,000 pints of lager. Roughly six each for the 50,000 people who have attended over the last three weeks. It is probably safe to assume they’re in profit. And there cannot be a fancy dress shop within the M25 which has not observed the rise of the arrows in their profit and loss ledgers.
On Sunday night the German footballer Toni Kroos, Real Madrid’s newest galactico told his Twitter followers: “Congrats Gary Anderson! Great final!”
There is no surer indication that darts is mainstream, now. It has been for more than a decade. Now it is just a case of waiting for the summer to come and go, before winter returns and we call “Chase the Sun” again.Reuse content