The Wizard leaves Europe spellbound
As the PDC looks to expand its empire further into Europe their plans will have been done no harm with another highly entertaining edition of the European Championship in Germany.
The quality of the darts throughout will have been enough to entertain the crowd in Mulheim but the winner of the event made it all the sweeter as the Germans couldn’t get enough of Simon Whitlock over the weekend.
The Australian lost his major championship virginity on Sunday night, something he has threatened to do constantly over the last few years as he flirted with glory in the Premier League and the World Championships.
The Wizard fired a warning shot pre-tournament with his Players Championship win in Barnsley and made full use of his good form as he stormed to the £50,000 prize having outlasted all his rivals.
The route was anything but simple for the Aussie who had to contend with Mark Walsh, Dave Chisnall and Colin Lloyd just to reach the last four before he squeezed past Kim Huybrechts and then handled the pressure of the final that bit better than Wes Newton.
The Warrior will have been devastated to lose out in another major final but he is getting ever closer to that first major which Whitlock finally claimed right before his eyes and Newton will eventually reflect on a very successful tournament.
There won’t be such a positive reflection being embarked upon by those right at the head of the world rankings though as none of the top four were represented in the semi-finals, a rare occurrence when it comes to PDC majors.
Gary Anderson was banned and although it was a shock, Phil Taylor won’t be over-analysing his quarter-final loss to Brendan Dolan but neither James Wade nor Adrian Lewis will have had pleasant flights home after their first round exits. It is the second time this year that Wade has lost out to Lloyd in a major and he will be smarting, but not as much as the world champ who was routed 6-0 by Ian White.
This will do nothing to quieten the talk that Jackpot can only perform at the World Championships; clearly if you can win at the Ally Pally you can win anywhere, but Lewis needs to start proving it. White, however, has come from nowhere in betting terms to be at 50/1 for the 2013 world title which sounds distant but considering it is lower than the likes of Terry Jenkins and Mark Webster then it shows what a big win can do.
Whilst Lewis and Taylor remain favourites for the forthcoming majors, with the Grand Prix right around the corner, Whitlock’s win gets him right back up there in the odds alongside Wade at around 9/1. A confident and firing Wizard has shown he is a match for anyone and there may well be some profit to be made with him following up with another major by the end of the year.