Phil Taylor fit to continue darts dominance for years to come
In 1997, when Tiger Woods won the Masters, he changed the game of golf almost overnight.
Players realised they couldn’t just hit a few balls down the range anymore – Woods raised the bar in terms of fitness and professionalism and everyone else knew would have to change if they were to keep up with new kid on the block.
The parallels with Phil Taylor may not be immediately obvious, but following his 2007 World Darts Championship defeat to Raymond van Barneveld, Taylor too embarked on a new fitness and practice regime that would make him even more dominant in his sport than Woods in his.
Taylor’s dominance is still quite staggering – he has now won 15 world titles and is huge favourite at 8/15 to win his 16th this year – a record he puts down to a change in lifestyle away from the oche.
“Fitness is very important,” said Taylor. “People don’t understand darts and they don’t know how fit we have to be to look after ourselves properly. When I am at home, I like to practise from ten to one and then go to the gym. I get addicted to it.
“Going out at night is not for me. When I saw Tom Watson in the Open Golf – well, he gave me more new hope! So, I look after myself. And I have learned that I have to be more selfish, for my own protection.
“I used to be my own worst enemy and say yes to everyone and everything. Sometimes, I’d get back in the house at two or three in the morning after being on the road and I’d think ‘this is just daft’. Why am I doing it?”
While Woods may have stalled on 14 majors, Taylor shows no sign of slowing down and it’s surely only a matter of time before he adds a 16th world title to his collection.
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