Mark Webster admits retaining PDC Tour Card is his target for 2019
"I've put too much pressure on myself for years so I'm just going to try and relax for the remainder of the year."
By Josh Gorton
Last Updated: 16/05/19 3:35pm
Mark Webster insists that retaining his PDC Tour Card remains his target for 2019 having endured a difficult start to the season.
The Welshman, ranked 61st on the PDC Order of Merit, enjoyed a run to the third round of the Austrian Darts Open a fortnight ago - the first time he's made the last 16 of a ranking event since June 2018.
The former Lakeside champion admits that he's pressurised himself to the detriment of his own game over recent years, therefore he's in a philosophical mood about his aspirations this term.
"I've tried to take the pressure off now, because my aim is to keep my Tour Card this year," Webster told the Darts Show podcast.
"Years ago it was 'I want to get in the Matchplay, the Grand Prix and the Grand Slam', but I've just got to try and keep my Tour Card.
"If it doesn't happen it doesn't happen, then hopefully I can remain working with Sky. What will be will be in the next seven months of the year.
"I think if I got in the Worlds and got to the second round I'd be safe, but I'll just see what I can do. That's all I can do now. I've put too much pressure on myself for years so I'm just going to try and relax for the remainder of the year."
"It's when you lose and you're not overly bothered that it's a bit concerning and that's kind of happening a little bit with me sometimes."
Webster on his season so far...
It's been a difficult 18 months for the Welshman, who missed out on qualification to the PDC World Championship for the first time in his career last year.
However, Webster has been a prominent part of Sky Sports' coverage within the last 12 months and the left-hander admits that he's relished his media commitments.
"I enjoy it," Webster added. "In a way I probably enjoy it a bit too much but it's good to be involved. They're good guys and we have a good crack. It's nice to catch up with people you don't see.
"I'm still involved in the game; I was a fan of the sport before I played, so if I can be involved in some capacity it's good."
Speaking to former World No 1 Colin Lloyd, Webster concedes that losing has become a habit that he's started to accept more readily, although he insists his motivation remains intact.
"It's a tough one," he said. "You know what it's like Lloydy [Colin Lloyd] when you play your last few years, I mean I chalked a few of your games, you weren't playing that badly but it's just not happening.
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"It's when you lose and you're not overly bothered that it's a bit concerning and that's kind of happening a little bit with me sometimes.
"I still want to keep winning and I'm still chipping away because I'm not playing terribly, but it's a lot harder now."
Webster has accrued £7,500 in prize money so far this season, but £3,000 of that total came in Graz two weeks ago, where 'Webby' defeated Dirk van Duijvenbode and Joe Cullen before succumbing to Daryl Gurney.
The Welshman was nowhere near his vintage best but it was a confidence-boosting run for Webster, who admits that results currently take precedence over performances.
"When it's not happening, you've just got to forget about how you perform and just try and win," the 35-year-old said. "I pulled an 11-dart leg in a last leg against Joe Cullen from absolutely nowhere.
"My performances weren't great but as you get a bit more experienced as a player you know it's about winning and not averages and you just don't worry about these averages anymore and I'd say I'm in that bracket now.
"It did help. If you assess my performances they weren't brilliant, but I grafted.
"I never felt overly relaxed in any of the games so that was a bit of a concern for me, but it's a last 16 run on a European Tour and I hadn't made a European Tour since last September.
"It was nice to be involved and get to the last day and pick up some money on my ranking, because I haven't had a big pay-day in terms of my ranking this year, so the £3,000 has put me in touch for the World Championship spots but there's a long way to go."
Webster has enjoyed plenty of success throughout his PDC career, twice reaching the World Championship semi-finals and featuring in the Premier League back in 2011.
Webster's PDC major record
2x World Cup finalist
2x World Championship semi-finalist
World Grand Prix semi-finalist
World Matchplay quarter-finalist
UK Open semi-finalist
Grand Slam semi-finalist
Players Championship Finals runner-up
2011 Premier League participant
However, some of his best performances have come at the World Cup of Darts, where he twice led Wales to the final, in 2010 and 2017.
Wales will be represented by Grand Slam champion Gerwyn Price and World No 15 Jonny Clayton for the second successive year and Webster believes there's cause for optimism.
"It is tough," he added. "I've gone in there playing well and then when you're not playing well you worry about being the weak player in a pairs team, because I think that's where I think pairs can have an impact on a player.
"It's a good team. I don't think they played particularly well as a team last year but Jonny [Clayton] admitted he was nervous.
"They've had that year together now. I think they'll be one of the favourites I'm sure with the combined seeding."
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