Sport : Other Sports

Taylor to be the Euro star again

19th September 2012, 03:27pm

Phil Taylor: Only man to win European Championship

Phil Taylor: Only man to win European Championship

Reece Killworth makes no apologies for backing Phil Taylor for the PartyPoker.net European Championship.

6pts Phil Taylor to win European Championship at 5/4 (Boylesports).


Let's not beat around the bush here - while 5/4 isn't the fanciest price in the world, you shouldn't need any second invitation to back Phil Taylor to win this weekend's PartyPoker.net European Championship.

And the rationale is more than just because he's the best player in the world.

Of course, that's a very salient part of the argument - but regular readers will know I'm not one to back 'The Power' willy nilly, particularly in recent months.

So why now? Well, there are a number of factors.

Though we're off to another different venue this year (Mulheim), Taylor is the only man to have won the European Championship in its four-year history.

From Frankfurt to Dusseldorf, he's seen off all challengers in this competition do date and even a tweak in its position in the PDC calendar - one other change - can be overlooked relatively easily as it's never had a static date.

For all his dominance down the years, this remains the only title that has been exclusively Taylor's and for a serial trophy collector such as himself that'll surely only add to his determination to emerge victorious this weekend.

The format of the competition also works in his favour.

Though I'd have to seriously think about his prospects - at that price, at least - were the World Championship the next tournament in the calendar and therefore the subject of this preview, I don't have the same concerns now.

The older Taylor gets (he's just turned 52), the more the longer, set-based matches and tournaments seem to take it out of him.

But in these shorter leg-based sprints, he remains largely a class apart.

Of the last eight 'majors' played with a leg-based format, Taylor has won six; with extenuating circumstances in both of those he missed out on.

Both the Players Championship and UK Open are rather more unpredictable than the rest (the identity of the winners - Kevin Painter and Robert Thornton - bear that out) because of the way the seedings and/or draws are done.

In the former, the 32 seeds are decided by their position on the PDC Players Championship Order of Merit meaning Taylor was seeded seventh.

And in the latter, it's a completely random draw, though Taylor did reach the final in Bolton only to lose to Thornton with what looked a tired display.

Here, Taylor is seeded one and we can track his progress already.

Magnus Caris, though a decent player, shouldn't be able to live with Taylor in the first round; ditto Jerry Hendriks or Mensur Suljovic next in line.

Thereafter things have the potential to get more difficult but Mark Webster still isn't firing on all cylinders in the PDC while Justin Pipe isn't in the form he was earlier in the year and Andy Hamilton has an awful record against Taylor.

Of course, there are threats - the likes of Brendan Dolan, Mervyn King and Wes Newton aren't to be discounted - but Taylor must like his draw.

And even the likely candidates for progression to the semis and final in the bottom half - Adrian Lewis and James Wade - aren't on top of their game.

Indeed if you're looking for someone to take Taylor on with in the opposing half, you could do worse than Simon Whitlock each-way at 16/1.

The Aussie recently broke a lengthy drought in the floor events by beating Hamilton in a Barnsley final and is therefore clearly in decent nick.

But he's hardly blessed with a great draw - after an expected victory over Mark Walsh in the first round he could face Dave Chisnall, James Wade then one of Raymond van Barneveld or Adrian Lewis in his next three matches.

Even then he'd be staring at the prospect of facing Taylor in the final and by that stage 'The Power' should be well and truly in the groove - and no-one has got within three legs of him when it comes down to the climax of this event.

I'll stick with Taylor at the 5/4 laid by Boylesports - he's odds-on in places.

  • The PartyPoker.net European Championship is live in the UK on ESPN.

  • Preview posted at 1140 BST on 19/09/2012.

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