Blackpool winner to collect the Phil Taylor Trophy

Darts legend Phil Taylor     Picture: Lawrence Lustig
Darts legend Phil Taylor Picture: Lawrence Lustig

The winner of the BetVictor World Matchplay will receive the “Phil Taylor Trophy” after the top prize for the prestigious tournament was renamed in honour of the sport’s greatest player.

Taylor’s glittering career ended on Monday night with his retirement following the World Championship final at Alexandra Palace, where he lost 7-2 in sets to Rob Cross.

The 57-year-old (right) had been aiming to bow out of the sport with a 17th World Championship title – but instead will hang up his darts with 16 triumphs in that event.

His record in the World Championship was matched by an incredible 16th World Matchplay title when he was victorious in July 2017 on his emotional farewell to the Winter Gardens event in Blackpool.

Taylor has often spoken of his fondness for the World Matchplay as an event and for the Winter Gardens as his favourite venue, and his rapport with the tournament will be sealed in history following the PDC’s move to rename the trophy in his honour.

“I think it was a great decision,” said PDC chairman Barry Hearn. “We owe Phil Taylor a huge amount within the sport of darts.

“I don’t know how you repay 30 years of excellence which the great man has given us.

“He had a special affinity with Blackpool, as it showed when he came back and won it (last year), and we thought what better way than to change the name of that trophy to the ‘Phil Taylor Trophy’ so that we always remember what we owe Phil Taylor?

“It’s a mark of respect and one I think is thoroughly deserved. I’ll always have a special part in me that remembers his contribution to where we are now globally in the sport of darts.

“Everything about darts is going vertically upwards, it’s looking fantastic. The World Matchplay has always had a very special place in most darts players’ hearts, and I think The Phil Taylor Trophy will summarise that.”

BetVictor Head of PR Charlie McCann said: “We are thrilled that the winner of the 2018 BetVictor World Matchplay will receive the Phil Taylor Trophy.

“Phil has lit up Blackpool for the best part of 25 years and he will be long remembered as one of the great British sportsmen of any era.

“It will be a great honour for whoever is good enough to win the BetVictor World Matchplay at the end of July to receive the inaugural Phil Taylor Trophy, and Rob Cross is 11/4 with the sponsors to add the World Matchplay crown to the World Championship title he won so magnificently at Ally Pally.”

The 2018 BetVictor World Matchplay will be held from July 21-29 at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool, with tickets set to go on sale in due course via www.pdc.tv/tickets