A look back at Phil Taylor's dominance of the PDC World Darts Championship
We delve into the archives to pick out The Power's greatest triumphs...
By Raz Mirza
Last Updated: 02/01/18 4:15pm
Phil Taylor has been the powerful force as well as the immovable object when it comes to planet darts. Now with his final World Championship at an emotional end, Sky Sports' Raz Mirza has delved into the archives to relive his remarkable achievements.
Taylor has dominated the darting landscape for decades, but his time at the top of the tungsten ladder has come to an end at Alexandra Palace.
The 57-year-old from Stoke-on-Trent may not be a winning machine he once was, but was out to prove that he can still mix it with the very best at this year's championship - and he didn't disappoint us.
Taylor, who has not won darts' richest prize since 2013, knows that this was his last chance at claiming the ultimate prize as the curtain comes down on his time in the sport. We salute a legend...
1990 & 1992
It all started in the BDO version of the World Championship at Lakeside for Taylor. His first title came against his mentor, the Crafty Cockney Eric Bristow. The 29-year-old unemployed engineer stunned the darting world by defeating the five-time champion in comprehensive fashion 6-1.
A quarter-final exit at the hands of eventual champion Dennis Priestley followed a year later, but he returned to claim his second title at Frimley Green in a 6-5 deciding-leg classic against Mike Gregory. This, after his opponent had missed six darts to win the title himself.
After losing in the inaugural PDC final at the Circus Tavern in Purfleet against Priestley, Taylor returned even more determined than ever. He beat Rod Harrington 6-2 before exacting his revenge over The Menace 6-4 and then inflicting two further defeats on the same opponent in the final, 6-3 followed by a 6-0 romp.
Taylor claimed his seventh world title with victory over Surrey newsagent Peter Manley 6-2 and he then crushed Priestley's dreams for a fourth time in 2000 thanks to a 7-3 win.
A year later, Canada's Darth Maple John Part won only three legs as he was whitewashed 7-0 by a rampant Taylor, who then crushed Manley for the second time in four years with another 7-0 scoreline. One Dart was left so infuriated by the loss that he refused to shake Taylor's hand on the oche.
Part ended Taylor's winning run in 2003 with a thrilling 7-6 victory, but he reclaimed the crown after edging Kevin Painter in a sudden-death leg which will live long in the memory.
With The Artist left on 128, Taylor came to the oche needing 40. He missed tops, double 10, before sealing victory with a nerveless double 5 with his last dart. He announced his retirement from darts but performed a U-turn four days later.
Taylor faced surprise finalist Mark Dudbridge at the summit of darts a year later, but despite a valiant effort from the 13th seed, it was Taylor who prevailed 7-4 to claim the £60,000 first prize with his 12th title.
And he was back for more 12 months later, although he was forced to come through 6-5 against Wayne Hawaii 501 Mardle to reach the final. Once more, Peter Manley was waiting for him, but once again, the imperious Taylor produced another 7-0 whitewash.
The last final at the Circus Tavern saw Raymond van Barneveld, who defected from rival organisation the BDO in February, reach the final at the first attempt. Taylor was waiting for him in a mouthwatering encounter which went to a sudden-death leg which the Dutchman won.
"Of all the finals I've played in, I would probably put this one as the best," said Taylor. "In the last leg, when I kicked in with 180, I thought 'I've got you now', but he hit a 180 back.
"It was probably the best final leg I've ever played in."
Darts was bigger than ever and by 2008 the tournament had moved to Alexander Palace. But the omens were not good for Taylor, who failed to reach the final of the competition for the first time in PDC history after losing a rip-roaring encounter 5-4 to Wayne Mardle in the quarter-finals.
After a three-year gap, Taylor reached his first final at Alexander Palace and he was in the mood for revenge, hammering Van Barneveld 7-1 as well as setting a world-record average for a tournament final of 110.94.
And he was back for more, sealing another title triumph, this time over first-time finalist Simon Whitlock 7-3 to claim the biggest prize of his career to date with a fund of £1m.
Taylor's last title triumph came against 23-year-old Michael van Gerwen. In the final, he came back from 4-2 down to defeat the up-and-coming Dutchman, sealing victory with double 16.
"I'm probably the proudest man in the world," said Taylor. "I've got to give Michael everything, he's phenomenal that kid. Michael is one of the best players I've seen in my career."
Taylor suffered a huge upset by losing to world No 32 Michael Smith in 2014, but returned a year later to reach his 20th World Championship final.
Gary Anderson had beaten Taylor in the Players Championship Finals and 'The Flying Scotsman' came out on top when they met again in the 2015 final with a stunning 7-6 victory.
Darts' elder statesman suffered a disappointing third-round exit to Jelle Klaasen in 2016 and he then bowed out to old foe Van Barneveld at the quarter-final stage last year.
Taylor arrived at the tournament a mid-range bet to achieve the most successful of farewells, but looked on as those tipped to topple him have disappeared. He beat Gary Anderson, while man most expected to keep Taylor at bay, Michael van Gerwen, lost to Rob Cross in a semi-final blockbuster.
The 27-year-old Cross, who was not even born when Taylor won his first world title in 1990, then produced a stunning performance to claim a 7-2 victory in the final, but Taylor's standing as the greatest ever remains in tact.
The 2018 Premier League is the next major darting event on Sky Sports, running from February to May. Dublin's hugely popular 3Arena will open the 2018 season on Thursday, February 1 from 7pm on Sky Sports Action with the season concluding at the Play-Offs on May 17 at The O2 in London.
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