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The 2014 PDC World Darts Championship final; as the unmistakable figure of Michael Van Gerwen stepped up to the board with a trademark snarl etched upon his face, there was most definitely an air of expectancy around Alexandra Palace. The bald headed Dutchman raced away and despite a blip later in the match, he eventually found himself with a checkout to win the match.
Fittingly Van Gerwen finished the match with double top, exactly where he is in his career right now. After going one better than last year to become the 2014 PDC World Darts Champion, the scowling Dutchman became the smiling Dutchman and with just cause. On the back of his 2013 Premier League win, Van Gerwen can now claim to be the number one darts player in the world and justifiably so.
This could just be the start however, at 24 Van Gerwen is the youngest ever PDC World Champion and clearly has all the skill and determination to compete at the top level for many years. There is however, a difference between being a top player and being Phil “the power Taylor”, who takes sporting dominance to an entirely new level.
Despite his shock second round exit at the hands of Michael Smith, Phil Taylor is still the ultimate darts player and the one to beat. Defeating a rising Van Gerwen in the final last year gave Taylor a record 16th world championship, re-affirming his status as the greatest darts player ever by a distance. So could Van Gerwen even come close to Taylor’s continuing legacy?
Well for one, for Van Gerwin to ever to be considered a true world number one in this era he must defeat a Taylor who’s playing well or even one who simply looks enthused again. Taylor’s consistent dominance means that for so long potential challengers have come and gone without ever leaving a lasting legacy, even the likes of Raymond Van Barneveld never quite achieved what there career should have.
Van Gerwen does, I think, have everything in his arsenal to in the future, be considered one of the all time greats, especially when you consider the Dutchman is just 24 years of age. He not only beats opponents but dominates them and always looks capable of a moment of magic, a prime example being his perfect 17 darts in last year’s championship. The matter of whether he does go on to become a dominant world number one all depends on his commitment to darts in the future.
Van Gerwen’s rise to the top could also provide a spark to the dejected looking 16 time former champion, who once again looks disillusioned with the world of darts after his enormous successes. The Dutchman could once again ignite “the power” to claim back his title as world number one and for the first time in a number of years, offer him some real competition. The classic Barneveld vs Taylor rivalry could once again be a possibility through the new, upcoming Dutchman.
The rota for next year’s Premier League Darts has been announced and seen some notable omissions such as James Wade. Van Gerwen will be there however, to defend his title against the likes of Phil Taylor to prove that he is indeed as “mighty” as his name suggests.