Who is John Henderson? Michael van Gerwen's Grand Prix conqueror
By Michael Cantillon
Last Updated: 03/10/17 6:05pm
He is the man who blew open the World Grand Prix with a sensational victory over Michael van Gerwen in Dublin, we take a closer look at The Highlander...
John Henderson pulled off one of the biggest darting shocks in recent memory on Sunday night as he knocked out world No 1 and pre-tournament favourite Michael van Gerwen in the first round of the Grand Prix.
He is back in second round action against Alan 'Chuck' Norris on Tuesday night on Sky Sports Action and Sky Sports Main Event, but just who is he and should we have expected a performance like we saw on Sunday night?
Where is he from?
The 44-year-old hails from Huntly in Scotland and has been playing on the PDC circuit since winning a Tour Card at the PDC Qualifying School in 2011.
Before that, Henderson featured in the BDO between 2004 and 2010 after a short stint with the PDC in 2002-2003.
A latecomer to the professional game, the Highlander's first appearance in a world championship match came in 2005 at the age of 32, where he qualified for the pinnacle of the BDO format.
He beat future BDO champion and current PDC star Stephen Bunting in the first round that year but subsequently suffered a second-round defeat to Martin Adams, during which he hit a record 13 180s in a five-set match defeat.
'Big John', as he is affectionately known, has been largely under the radar ever since that breakthrough year, but on Sunday he exploded into the darting world's consciousness.
What are his career achievements?
Henderson's previous best in a PDC premier tournament is a quarter-final appearance, having yet to taste victory or the semi-final stage.
In 2011 he reached the quarter-finals of the World Grand Prix in Dublin in his first year on the tour, ultimately losing to eventual runner-up Brendan Dolan.
In the same year he reached a career best last 16 at the World Matchplay and last 32 at the Players Championship Finals.
In truth though, he has yet to build on that promising start to his PDC career.
His second year in 2012 proved possibly his most difficult to date as he suffered a round one exit at his first PDC World Championships, winning just two legs against John Part, and was beaten in the last 16 of the qualifiers for the 2013 World Championship, ending the year ranked world number 39.
In 2013 he reached the last 16 of the UK Open, while in 2015 he reached the quarter-final stage of the European Championships.
At World Championship level, Hendo twice made it to the second round (last 16) of the BDO tournament in 2005 and 2010, and his best in the PDC to date is a second round (last 32) appearance in 2014.
Of his five appearances in the PDC World Championships since 2012, four have ended in first round exits.
While he hasn't tasted success in terms of silverware in any major so far, he has experienced victory in other events.
While still on the BDO circuit, Henderson clinched the 2008 British Open, and backed that up with Belgium Open, German Open, Didam Open and Scotland National Championship success in 2009.
More recently, Henderson made the final of the 2015 German Masters, only to lose out to van Gerwen, while he also made the semi-final of a Players Championship event in 2016 and quarter-final in the same event in 2017.
Could he go all the way in 2017?
Up against three-time Grand Prix winner van Gerwen nobody gave Henderson a slither of a chance, and if he can defeat the Dutchman, he truly can beat anybody.
Having only just qualified for this year's Grand Prix in Dublin as number 12 in the top 16 non-qualified players from the ProTour Order of Merit, the world number 32 was viewed upon as a largely favourable draw for van Gerwen.
Despite being pegged back to 1-1 in sets, however, the Highlander held his nerve and nailed double top in the deciding leg of the match to complete a remarkable victory.
Not sure I can remember an event where we have gone in to the second day without four of the world's top five. This one is up for grabs now!— Matthew Porter (@MattPorter_PDC) October 1, 2017
The World Grand Prix is like no other tournament on the circuit. If there is to be a wildcard winner then this is the most likely event for it to happen in.
It's unique format often gives way to shock victories with each player required to start every leg by hitting a double first. Indeed four of the top five are already out in 2017.
This tournament has seen Robert Thornton crowned a surprise champion in 2015 and runs to the final for the likes of Brendan Dolan, Dave Chisnall and Mervyn King.
If Henderson can maintain his composure and consistency, who's to say he couldn't be the next one to go all the way?
Alan Norris is next up in the second round for the man who walks out to the Status Quo track Rocking All Over the World. He certainly rocked the darting world on Sunday...
The biggest names in darts will return to Dublin's Citywest Hotel from October 1-7 for the 2017 World Grand Prix and you will be able to watch all the action with us on Sky Sports.
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Who will win the World Grand Prix at Dublin's Citywest Hotel this year? Let us know your thoughts by tweeting @SkySportsDarts or by using the comments box below - sign in with Facebook. Follow us on Twitter & use #LoveTheDarts