Glen Durrant talks PDC switches, Grand Slam of Darts and being a world champion
Having won a maiden world title, Duzza is keen to make his mark at the Grand Slam after pushing Raymond van Barneveld and Gary Anderson all the way at last year's tournament
By Paul Prenderville
Last Updated: 10/11/17 1:24pm
Glen Durrant heads to the Grand Slam of Darts as a man comfortable in his position, having shown himself to be a match for two of the very best in the game last year. Paul Prenderville spoke to Teeside's tungsten titan ahead of his return to the tournament.
When it comes to the best in the BDO against the best in the PDC, the benchmark for the former will always be their world champion and what usually follows is the question: 'When are you switching codes?'
Darts will always have two world champions, and much like boxing, governing body politics is behind that. Michael van Gerwen holds the PDC crown having won it for a second time at Alexandra Palace last year, while Glen Durrant claimed the BDO version and his first a couple of weeks later.
So to the aforementioned obvious question which gets the sort of honest response one comes to expect after a lengthy chat with the engaging BDO champ known to fans, players and friends alike as Duzza.
"I have never hidden the secret that I would love to play PDC but a lot of it will depend on how it goes this year at Lakeside.
"For me, at my age, the PDC is the final challenge and I was asked last year if the two [PDC and BDO] got together would I consider a card, but it gets political.
"At the moment I am determined to go back to Lakeside and try to retain my title, that is my focus."
He may not be the No 1 at the moment, that honour falls to Mark McGeeney who will also be in Wolverhampton, but Durrant is the BDO man the PDC players will all want to beat when the Grand Slam gets underway at the weekend.
It's been a long, draining but enjoyable reign for the 46-year-old, who admits he has loved every minute of his role as the reigning champion.
"I can't begin to explain what a fantastic year it has been! I took the trophy to Middlesbrough football club, I've been awarded Teeside's sportsperson of the year and I've pretty much taken the trophy from John O'Groats to Lands End.
"I have enjoyed the year but I have been doing more exhibition work rather than competition play and probably not playing as well matchplay-wise as last year. But ever since the Masters I have been practising really hard."
The PDC's bandwagon rolls into the rather raucous surrounding of the Civic Hall on Saturday and a week of festivities will culminate in the final a week on Sunday, and Durrant admits it's a very different world to that which he is used.
"The BDO have been really good to me but when you are showcasing your talents you want to be on TV and Lakeside is the only place in the BDO we get that exposure.
"The PDC have an amazing product and they are on the TV all the time and in January when I won the BDO title I got a little window into that and a little bit of fame.
"But even when I went to the Grand Slam, more people recognise you in the street and say hello and I feel I have that responsibility going there as BDO champion."
So as champion what does he face? The draw has not been kind with No 2 seed and UK Open champion Peter Wright the headline name in his group, alongside world youth champion Corey Cadby and Alan Norris.
But there are similarities to last year. Durrant pushed Gary Anderson all the way in his opening group game, before a 5-1 hammering of Norris and a 5-0 destruction of Nathan Derry.
Having qualified, Durrant then faced the legendary figure of Raymond van Barneveld where he was eventually beaten 10-7.
"In the first leg of my match with Gary Anderson I was looking around the building thinking 'wow this is great'. He bit me up in the first leg and that got me going.
"This year I know what to expect and the focus is high and I want to go there and do really well.
"Playing Barney last year, he was so nice to me before and after the game. I got a lot of plaudits and it's nice to hear good things but at 5-5 against Barney I remember thinking 'come on, now's your chance', but he then suddenly was 8-5 up before I knew it.
"I thoroughly enjoyed the game and I can't wait to get back there."
So it's onto the Grand Slam and Durrant admits he is having to reset after a different type of challenge, but as is the case across the darting world, the final months of the year signal a time to get down to business as the big prizes are handed out, culminating in the two world championships at the end of the year.
"There have been times in matches this year where I have needed 150 and I have been going for three bullseyes because that is what I was doing in exhibitions.
"That was a decision I made and I'll stand by it, I've made new friends and gone to places that I may never have been to and it's also brought my personality out as well. But now the exhibition circuit is secondary and it's competition play all the way.
"Now my county darts, my Superleague darts I feel like I am where I was last year and I am so excited for the Grand Slam. This is the busiest time of the year and it's time to get the head down."
The Grand Slam of Darts gets underway live on Sky Sports on Saturday November 11 with a double session as the best of the PDC compete against the best of the BDO
Keep up to date with the news as the tungsten enters its busiest time of year with the PDC World Championships just around the corner get all the latest at www.skysports.com/darts and join in the conversation @SkySportsDarts.