As one of the most famous UK darts players, Gary Anderson will always manage to make the headlines no matter how well he is performing.
However, Anderson’s most recent performance at the World Matchplay tournament at Winter Gardens caused a bit of a stir when he suffered a first-round exit from the tournament — despite being a former winner!
For punters paying close attention to online sportsbooks, this proved to be a big upset. Given the calibre of player that Anderson is and the resume he has amassed over the years, he is all but assured decent odds when he is scheduled to play.
Unfortunately for these punters, Anderson failed to deliver. But what is behind this latest departure? Did a younger player simply get the better of a well-seasoned Anderson, or is there something bigger at play?
Now in his 50s, Gary Anderson is easily one of the most successful darts players Scotland has ever produced. Over the course of his almost three-decade long career, some of Anderson’s career highlights include BDO and WDF world number one rankings, and two PDC World Championship wins.
Anderson is one of the few professional darts players to secure back-to-back PDC World Championship wins, having won the title in 2015 and 2016.
Anderson is known in the professional darts world for his remarkably smooth throwing and for having a heavy scoring approach, which helped him to secure PDC World Championship final placings in 2011, 2016, 2017 and 2021.
Some of Anderson’s other impressive career highlights included winning the International Darts League, the World Darts Trophy, the Zuiderduin Masters, the Premier League twice and the Champions League of Darts, among many more!
In total, Anderson has won 31 PDC Pro Tour events, which puts him in third place on the all-time list just behind Michael van Gerwen and Phil Taylor.
Unfortunately for fans of Anderson, the Flying Scotsman hasn’t necessarily been having the best run of luck recently. This fact was very apparent in the early stages of the World Matchplay tournament at the Winter Gardens.
The former World Matchplay Champion Anderson was bested by two-time semi-finalist Daryl Gurney, who secured a handy 10-7 victory. This sent Anderson home from the tournament in the first round, despite some moments during the game when it seemed like the former champion had found his form again.
This included a super 134 checkout by the 51-year-old Scotsman, which reduced the deficit to 5-4. Unfortunately for the 2018 Champion, however, Gurney was able to regain his composure and scored three legs in a row to take a commanding lead over Anderson.
Anderson briefly looked like he might pull ahead in the 15th leg when he took out 116, however, Gurney all but smashed these brief hopes when he secured a remarkable no-look 180 during the final leg of the match.
Michael van Gerwen would eventually go on to win this tournament, in what turned out to be one of the most epic finals of all-time against Gerywn Price.
This is not the first time Anderson has had a shock exit from a tournament, however. Anderson famously withdrew from the World Cup of Darts in 2021 when fellow Scot John Henderson stepped in to replace him.
Although this was obviously a disappointing result for Anderson, it is not necessarily reflective of his recent performances. The Flying Scotsman had been performing particularly well on a recent US Masters Tour in the US, where he managed to get some solid wins under his belt.
This was even despite a surprising mishap when he somehow managed to misplace his darts set in a New York hotel.
The Flying Scotsman had travelled to New York as part of a PDC showcase event at Madison Square Garden, however, when he was due to face off against Matt Campbell in the first round he struggled to locate his prized set of darts!
Thankfully, Anderson’s long-standing rivals came to his rescue — Peter Wright and Jonny Clayton — and he eventually beat the Canadian Campbell in a handy 6-3 match!
Despite these recent mishaps and underwhelming performances, however, the prospect of retiring doesn’t necessarily seem to be at the front of Anderson’s mind.
This is not to say that he doesn’t anticipate stepping away from the sport at some stage. Rather, Anderson has revealed he intends to quietly slip away from the top tiers of the sport rather than having a formal ‘retirement’ announcement.
This comes off the back of a notably disappointing 2022 for Anderson so far, which has led many to wonder if his best days are behind him.
However, with two PDC Championship wins behind him — in addition to Premier League, World Matchplay and World Cup wins — there is no getting around the fact that his spot in the ‘hall of fame’ is all but assured!
Whether or not this most recent withdrawal indicates the beginning of the end for Anderson, however, remains to be seen!