Raymond van Barneveld sums up scale of what Phil Taylor is doing with classy tribute
Whether you like Phil Taylor or you... don't like him, there's no denying that he's one of the true greats. Maybe the greatest.
It's only fitting that the 16-time world champion will appear in the New Year's Day final of the PDC World Darts Championship in what will be his last ever appearance in the tournament.
Whenever the Stoke legend announced that he'd be bowing out after one final hurrah for Ally Pally, the sporting world started believing in magic again - the sort of magic that only Phil Taylor could conjure.
— PDC Darts (@OfficialPDC) December 15, 2017
On Saturday night, The Power of course booked his place in the last two with a frightening 6-1 thumping of Jamie Lewis, a man who was born nearly two years after Taylor won his first world title.
Now, it's a dream showdown. Taylor v Rob Cross. The debutant who just slayed the champion against the best of all time.
The old-timer in his last ever outing, one more for the road. The new kid on the block, the contender for his throne with the biggest of scalps.
Anyone with the audacity to ignore the skill, the practice and nerve it takes to be a professional darts player can't appreciate sport. It's not luck or beer or whatever other nonsense you'll hear spouted that has Phil Taylor constantly excelling at the top of the world.
It's brilliance and it's pure, honest graft.
— SportsJOE (@SportsJOEdotie) December 30, 2017
Now, one of the best ever competitors of one of the most entertaining competitions is headed for a grand finale and it was of course always going to be the classy Raymond van Barneveld that put the whole thing into palpable words.
IMAGINE you won everything there ever was to win... IMAGINE you play your very last tournament and it’s the biggest of them all.... IMAGINE you reach the final.... IMAGINE you could win your 17th World Championship.... Good Luck in the Final @PhilTaylor pic.twitter.com/5td3spPpan
— Raymond v Barneveld (@Raybar180) December 30, 2017
Barney is as good as the best of them and as he's as competitive as the rest of them but even he has to sit back and salute what is a Hollywood classic unfolding before all of us.
The Dutch man was beaten again this year by van Gerwen - it was another classic again like it was in the semi-final last year - but he never strays from the gentleman he is and Phil Taylor couldn't have asked for a better recommendation ahead of Monday's final.
After setting records in last year's semi, van Barneveld was still beaten 6-2 and it was painful to watch his heartbreaking post-match interview.
This is heartbreaking to hear Raymond van Barneveld talk like this.
Especially after how he's just played. pic.twitter.com/1ryt3jXpMP
— SportsJOE (@SportsJOEdotie) January 1, 2017
Here's to another classic on Monday. It could be the biggest of classics with Phil Taylor involved in his very last game.