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Can Phil Taylor Topple Michael van Gerwen in his Final Trip to World Matchplay Event?

World Matchplay 2017 - Phil Taylor

 

The World Matchplay arrives in Blackpool once again on July 22nd, with a week of extraordinary of drama in the offing at the Winter Gardens. It's the final appearance of 15-time winner Phil Taylor who retires at the end of the season. Can the Power finish with a flourish? This year's tournament will see a record prize fund of £500,000 on offer to the winner, as 32 players compete for top honours in the Lancashire seaside town. Prize money in the sport has increased for 2017 with this year's showdown at the iconic venue likely to be as competitive as ever.

 

Last Year's Event

Michael van Gerwen continued his recent dominance at this event with a second consecutive victory denying Phil Taylor a 16th title in the 2016 final. Taylor has become an iconic figure in the history of darts and has truly dominated this tournament over the past 20 years and you'd have to go back to 2007 to find the last time this event wasn't clinched by either Taylor or MvG. The Dutchman ran out an 18-10 winner in a hugely entertaining final in front of a passionate crowd to become just the third player (Phil Taylor & Rod Harrington are the other two) to defend his title here. Meanwhile, Gary Anderson and Adrian Lewis both made the semi-finals of the tournament.

 

Shanghai Masters 2017 - Michael van Gerwen

 

PDC Darts 2017 World Matchplay Line-Up

PDC Order of Merit Qualifiers

ProTour Order of Merit Qualifiers

1 Michael van Gerwen Daryl Gurney
2 Gary Anderson Alan Norris
3 Peter Wright Joe Cullen
4 Adrian Lewis Rob Cross
5 Dave Chisnall Mervyn King
6 James Wade Gerwyn Price
7 Mensur Suljovic Cristo Reyes
8 Phil Taylor Stephen Bunting
9 Raymond van Barneveld Darren Webster
10 Jelle Klaasen Steve Beaton
11 Michael Smith James Wilson
12 Kim Huybrechts Steve West
13 Ian White Kyle Anderson
14 Robert Thornton John Henderson
15 Benito van de Pas Christian Kist
16 Simon Whitlock Justin Pipe

 

This year's event will once again be broadcast by Sky Sports and gets underway on Saturday, July 22nd. The draw has been made and, as always, includes the top 16 players according to the PDC Order of Merit. Unsurprisingly, Michael van Gerwen leads the way, followed by Peter Wright, Dave Chisnall and James Wade. Phil Taylor is currently eighth, one place behind Mensur Suljovic. The Power has never entered this tournament ranked in such a lowly position. They are joined by 16 Pro Tour Qualifiers, which include some familiar names such as Mervyn King and Steve Beaton. The final qualifier spot was secured by Justin Pipe. Players making their debut at the tournament include James Wilson, Cristo Reyes and Christian Kist. The latter's only previous major success came back in 2012 when wrapping up the BDO World Championship.

 

Can Phil Taylor Finally Make it 16 Wins Here?

Phil Taylor will be determined to make his final trip to Blackpool a winning one. There was a doubt over his participation in the event following an illness at the Shanghai Masters, but after skipping a number of other commitments including the US Darts Masters, he should be raring to go on his final appearance at the tournament. The Power was always determined to make this event, having been victorious in 15 of his 20 visits to this venue. His first victory arrived in 1995 and was just his second final success on the PDC tour. His latest triumph here came in 2014, beating MvG 18-9.

 

Phil Taylor, Michael van Gerwen - The Greatest

 

After being defeated by the Dutchman 12 months ago, Taylor declared van Gerwen 'The Greatest' and praised his aggression and domination of the game in recent years. MvG triumphed in the Premier League of Darts earlier this year as well as wrapping up the Masters back in January. Stopping the world number one will be his biggest challenge in this year's event but many pundits feel Taylor can clinch one more title before retiring at the start of 2018. It would be fitting if it arrived here at the Winter Gardens. As of July 22nd, Betway Sports have Michael Van Gerwen priced up as the 8/11 favourite for the tournament, with Phil Taylor at 20/1 to record one last success at the World Matchplay. Few darts fans will be expecting him to spring a surprise here but it would be a sensational way to bow out of the sport after over 20 years at the top.

Taylor will be well-rested and hopefully fully recovered ahead of the commencement and can concentrate fully on this event whilst Van Gerwen will arrive from Las Vegas having competed in the inaugural US Masters Darts tournament.

 

Other Contenders

Although suffering from inconsistencies, James Wade appears to enjoy competing at this event, having reached the final on six different occasions. Psychology is such an important part of the game, however, and there are some doubts over whether James Wade is mentally strong enough to win this tournament having failed on a number of occasions to get over the line. His only victory came back in 2007 when beating Terry Jenkins 18-7, and he will be eager for success here once again. Gary Anderson and Adrian Lewis will also be aiming to improve upon last year's encouraging displays at the Winter Gardens.

Few sports fans would begrudge Phil Taylor a final victory at this tournament. The event holds a special place in his heart and he would love to finish on a high by the seaside. However, Michael van Gerwen is unlikely to offer too much sentiment towards his rival as he aims to make it three consecutive successes at the World Matchplay.

 

PDC Darts World Matchplay Past Champions

Year
Champion  Score Runner-Up 
2017
TBC - - - TBC
2016
Michael van Gerwen 18–10 Phil Taylor
2015
Michael van Gerwen 18–12 James Wade
2014
Phil Taylor  18–9 Michael van Gerwen
2013
Phil Taylor  18–13 Adrian Lewis
2012
Phil Taylor  18–15 James Wade
2011
Phil Taylor  18–8 James Wade
2010
Phil Taylor  18–12 Raymond van Barneveld
2009
Phil Taylor 18–4 Terry Jenkins
2008
Phil Taylor 18–9 James Wade
2007
James Wade 18–7 Terry Jenkins
2006
Phil Taylor  18–11 James Wade
2005
Colin Lloyd 18–12 John Part
2004
Phil Taylor  18–8 Mark Dudbridge
2003
Phil Taylor 18–12 Wayne Mardle
2002
Phil Taylor  18–16 John Part
2001
Phil Taylor 18–10 Richie Burnett
2000
Phil Taylor  18–12 Alan Warriner 
1999
Rod Harrington  19–17 Peter Manley
1998
Rod Harrington 19–17 Ronnie Baxter
1997
Phil Taylor 16–11 Alan Warriner
1996
Peter Evison 16–14 Dennis Priestley
1995
Phil Taylor  16–11 Dennis Priestley
1994
Larry Butler 16–12 Dennis Priestley

 

 

 

 

 

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