Long Distance Darts Romance – Phil Taylor’s love of the long format darts match

The World Matchplay starts this weekend, the venue is one of the iconic venues in the sport, the impressive Empress Ballroom at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool.

Phil Taylor has dominated the World Matchplay, having won the tournament 15 times and has not been beaten in the event since 2007 when Terry Jenkins claimed a 17-11 victory in the semi-finals.

One of the reasons Taylor has dominated so much is the long match format of the tournament. The first round is best of 19 (first to 10 legs) and then this increases to best of 25 (first to 13 legs) for the second round, rising to best of 31 (quarter-finals), 33 (semi-finals) and 35 for the final. Although the later rounds have differed a little the second round has been best of 25 for a number of years.

Having looked into Taylor’s record in televised matches since his 2007 Matchplay semi-final defeat it is evident how strong he is over the long format.

Here are my findings:

Phil Taylor has played 461 TV matches since the July 2007 defeat and has won 377 of those, drawing 20 and losing 64. This is a win percentage of 82% which by anyone’s standards is highly impressive.

For the purpose of my research I also analysed matches where the player required at least 13 legs to win a match. In set play I have calculated a first to 3 sets as first to 9 legs and first to 4 sets as first to 12 legs as these are the amount of legs a player needs to win in order to win the match.
When broken down into matches over a long format (as mentioned above the winning player needing to win at least 13 legs) the stats for Taylor are even more impressive.

Since his defeat to Terry Jenkins in the 2007 Matchplay Taylor has played 77 games over the long format and has only been defeated in 6 of these matches which is a win percentage of 92%.

Taylor TV Match Win %

Up until his defeat against Gary Anderson in the World Championship final earlier this year it was 4 years since Taylor was beaten over what I have classed as the long format, this match was against Mark Webster in the 2011 World Championships.

The impressive stats aren’t stopping here though! As you can see from the table below, the matches Taylor lost over the long course you will see that only one of these games was in a ‘leg’ format with the remaining 5 all ‘set’ defeats.

Players to have defeated Taylor (long course)

Delving further into the matches Taylor has played over a long format since July 2007 in leg play and he has played a total of 51 matches, losing just the one to Steve Beaton 16-14 in the Grand Slam in 2010.
One defeat from 51 matches in leg play over best of 25 legs or more is an amazing record especially as it takes into account so many semi-finals and also finals against the best players in the world.

To see even more into how impressive this is I have listed the record of Taylor vs the rest of the current top 16 PDC ranked players over a long course, broken down into leg play and also set play.
These findings show that Since July 2007 Taylor has played 32 TV matches of best of 25 legs or more against the rest of the members of the current top 16 and has not lost once! His last defeat against a current top 16 player over this format was in July 2007 against Terry Jenkins.

Taylor vs Top 16 in long format TV Matches

Now I am not necessarily a Phil Taylor fan but I am an admirer of great achievements in sport and can’t help but be impressed by the results.

Phil Taylor may have his work cut out defending his Matchplay against a strong field but can you rule out him winning the title again, he just loves the long matches!!


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