Who’s the darts GOAT (greatest of all time)?
For years and years and more recently many have asked, who is the greatest dart player of all time? One name keeps coming up on top with his 16 world championships, Phil “The Power Taylor”. But in the last five years or so, the name that has dominated on the professional darts scene is “Mighty” Michael van Gerwen. So that forces the question again, who is the best ever? So here is my take on who I believe to currently be the top five best dart players of all time.
In fifth spot, this becomes the most hotly contested spot and could be taken by quite a few players. Martin Adams with 3 world championship titles could, but he won those championships post the PDC split under the BDO banner considered a much weaker competition following the split. Both Gary Anderson and Adrian Lewis with two world champion titles could, but again they were hot two years running but have cooled considerably since. Dennis Priestly who had amazing battles with Taylor in the 90’s is hard to forget. Or three times World Champ John Part could have made the grade. Jocky Wilson gets an honourable mention as he battled demons for years but still knocked off some of the best players ever for two world titles in the 80’s.
But John Lowe for mine takes the all-time number 5 spot. With three world titles spanning 14 years, his longevity in the game throughout the 70’s to the early 90’s is second to none. In fact, he won a world title in each of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, (1979, 1987 & 1993) something only replicated by the great Taylor himself. He also made the ‘81 and ’85 final’s only to be knocked over at the last hurdle by the great, Eric Bristow. His record of 28 World Championship appearances was broken only by Taylor just two years ago. He was the first to produce a televised nine dart finish in 1984. John Lowe was instrumental in putting the professional game into the living room and along with others made the game exciting to watch, despite his calm and quiet demeanour. If you want the perfect, silky and smooth dart throw, just check out John Lowe’s throw on youtube. It’s matched by very few!
In fourth spot, it is hard to go past the five-time world champ and recently retired, (or is he coming back?) Dutch man, Raymond van Barneveld. Four of his World titles were in the BDO after the split with the PDC which took 16 of the top darts players in the world away. But Barney at his best had the perfect throw and when he finally came over to the PDC in early 2006. He went on to prove many wrong by winning the 2007 (PDC) World Championship over none other than Phil Taylor himself to confirm his status as one of the best ever.
In third spot, the player who dominated the 80’s and went to the World Championship final 8 out of the ten years and won five titles in that decade is none other than the Crafty Cockney himself, Eric Bristow. Eric, who sadly passed away in April 2018 was not only a great player of the game, but had a great eye for talent as he mentored and sponsored Phil Taylor in his early years during the 80’s. Bristow was known for his cheeky attitude at the oche and was without doubt one of the most entertaining pro’s ever. Bristow’s winning mentality was also what set him apart from most of the other great darts players, barring one or two others.
Now second spot will no doubt be hotly debated. But this top five is based on what has currently been achieved, not what is likely to happen. The number two spot of all time can only go to “Mighty” Michael van Gerwen (MVG). Now MVG is nothing short of a darting superstar who at the age of just 31 has already amassed a list the length of my arm of achievements. From the youngest ever televised nine darter, three world titles, the most PDC Tour events, I could go on. When MVG is playing at his bets, some would say he is unbeatable. On an off day, as January the first showed he can lose. There is no doubt provided he can stay healthy and keep his head in the game, Michael will no doubt be racking up the records for many years to come.
That leaves the number one spot, which comes as no surprise. Not only has he has won 16 world titles over three decades, eight of them in a row (1995-2002), but he has been in a total of 21 world championship finals, 14 in a row between 1994 and 2007. He has won over 210 professional tournaments which includes a record 85 major titles. Calls for Knighthood have been made on numerous occasions given his dominance in the game. Phil “The Power” Taylor has without doubt been the most dominant darts player to ever walk this earth. He was among 16 top players who broke away from the BDO in early 1992 to form their own organisation, the World Darts Council, now known as the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC). Along with Sky Sports they grew the game into what we now know it to be today. Taylor, now retired still features in some home tour events, special guest appearances and likely plastic tip dart events. But there is no doubting the “GOAT” or best ever is currently Phil Taylor.
So to recap, here’s my view of the top 5 best dart players ever:
Raymond Van Barneveld
Whilst MVG is catching up fast, for me today, “there’s only one, Phil Taylor!”
All the very best, be safe and straight arrows everyone.
Owner – Bullseye Darts