IN recent years, darts as a growing global sport has moved to a completely different stratosphere. We have witnessed an expansive facelift within our game resulting in an entire change to the landscape.
Much of that progress is thanks to Barry Hearn who stepped down last month. Barry gave many players an opportunity, including myself, and it will be for this generation to provide many more.
For example, look at the past twelve months – four players have claimed a maiden PDC major. In contrast, rewind a decade to a time when it was rare to see a new name appearing on trophies.
Nowadays the PDC is a far more cosmopolitan place with foreign players bursting through the system, stepping up on the oche without fear. Belgium and Portugal now dine at the top table with Dimitri Van den Bergh and José de Sousa recently claiming silverware.
Since the pandemic began, the game has mushroomed beyond the elite. As we have witnessed recently, there is no longer a core group who monopolise the game’s honours. Major tournaments are featuring more of the so-called ‘lesser’ household names and the experienced players know every single match is going to be a dogfight.
I believe the change in format to the tour events has also improved the standard. Despite the fact it was altered out of necessity and to complete the busy PDC schedule, many players are benefiting from the change.
It’s very difficult to find your best form over a weekend but with the increase to a four-day event you’re able to produce your best darts. In my opinion, the Super Series concept has certainly improved the overall standard and also levels the playing field.
When Phil Taylor retired, many were concerned that the PDC would struggle but as one door closed, another opened. The marketability for the younger generation has never been better with the likes of Callan Rydz, Ryan Meikle, Keane Barry and Bradley Brooks all progressing well on the main tour.
Even players that are still relatively early in their careers have excelled and we often forget how young they really are. Perfect examples are Nathan Aspinall and Dimitri Van den Bergh, both major winners in recent years as well as 26-year old Luke Humphries who was a recent major finalist.
Yes, the future of our sport is extremely bright. The development system within the PDC is producing fresh talent each year and more countries are providing better opportunities for players to forge a career within the professional game.
Devon Petersen is a PDC professional, currently ranked 25 in the world.
Column from Darts World Magazine (Issue 574)
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