The Polishing of a Diamond
Last weekend Ian White won his 3rd PDC ranking tournament of the 2016 season, an impressive achievement especially given that only world number one Michael van Gerwen has won more ranking tournaments during this year than the 3 won by White.
The tournament win was White’s 7th PDC ranking tournament success since he joined the PDC tour in 2010; he has also reached a further 11 ranking finals and in total reached the quarter-finals or better in 55 ranking tournaments since he joined the PDC which again are impressive numbers.
Here is the breakdown of his best results in ranking tournaments since 2010.
Given these results it can be no surprise that White has now established himself in the top 16, he is currently ranked 11th but did make it into the top 10 in 2015.
The rise of White up the rankings in the PDC wasn’t sudden; during his two years on the circuit he only reached a total of 3 quarter-finals, though he did progress through to a final from 1 of those quarter-final appearances.
It was in 2012 when he really made his mark by reaching 5 finals; although he came up short in all 5 finals the confidence and belief gained in the runs to the finals were to prove invaluable as he went on to win his first PDC ranking tournament in September 2013 and backed it up by winning another in November of the same year.
Since the start of 2014 he has taken his game up a further level and has reached 10 ranking finals; winning 5 and finishing as runner-up in the other 5.
Here is the comparison of his performances from 2010-2013 against the years 2014-2016.
The improvement in consistency since 2014 is obvious with White having reached a total of 19 quarter-finals between 2010 and 2013 compared to a total of 36 quarter-finals from 2014 to 2016 (bear in mind we are only part way through 2016 too).
The chart below shows the huge rise in win percentage for White from 2011 to 2012 and the consistency he has shown in the subsequent years, it is rare for any player to show such a consistent win ratio across 4 years like White did from 2012 to 2015 and now significantly he has lifted his win % to over 71% so far this season.
All of the above highlights how White has earnt his place in the top 16 and as mentioned he is on the fringes of the top 10.
So the question now is how does White take it to the next level and establish himself in the top 10 and break into the top 8?
White has proven he can compete against the best on tour and come out on top but his results in the big TV ranking tournaments and also at Euro Tour level need to improve if he is to make the next step in his darting career.
Since joining the PDC in 2010 White has played in 28 TV ranking tournaments and has only managed to reach the quarter-finals on 6 occasions, failing to win in any of those 6 quarter-final matches.
The 6 quarter-finals results were
- Lost 9-6 vs Hamilton (2013 Player Championship Finals)
- Lost 5-4 vs Whitlock (2014 World Championship)
- Lost 10-8 vs van Gerwen (2014 UK Open)
- Lost 16-13 vs van Gerwen (2015 World Matchplay)
- Lost 3-2 vs Thornton (2015 World Grand Prix)
- Lost 10-6 vs Suljovic (2015 Players Championship Finals)
Three of the players who defeated White went onto win the whole tournament (MVG x2 and Thornton).
For a player of White’s ability to have only reached 6 TV quarter-finals during this period is a very poor return without doubt (he has played a total of 54 matches in TV ranking tournaments in the PDC – winning 25 and losing 29).
As mentioned above, White’s results on the Euro Tour have also been below what I would expect from him. In 35 Euro Tour events played since 2012 he has reached 1 final, been beaten in 4 semi-finals and reached a further 3 quarter-finals. White has 52 quarter-final appearances to his name in ranking tournaments since 2012 and only 8 of these have been in Euro Tour tournaments. He last reached the final of a Euro Tour event back in 2012.
On the positive side of things since June 2015 White has reached 3 semi-finals and 2 further quarter-final on the Euro Tour and in TV major ranking tournaments he made 3 quarter-final appearances in 2015 though his good work in the TV tournaments didn’t continue with early exits in the World Championships and UK Open.
White has wins on his record against all of the top players and inflicted a rare 6-0 defeat on Michael van Gerwen earlier this year in a Players Championship tournament final but he just doesn’t seem to be able to get a run going in a big TV tournament which might push him onto that next level.
Could it be a case that White struggles to bring consistency across a tournament where matches are played on consecutive days? Of his 18 final appearances in PDC ranking tournaments 17 came during tournaments where the tournament was played on a single day, the only exception was his appearance in a Euro Tour event final in 2012.
I’m not sure of the answer, it’s clear Ian ‘Diamond’ White has excellent ability but will he take the next step to more ‘polished’ performances, get rid of any ‘flaws’ and prove he can ‘cut it’ in the big TV tournaments.