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Taylor keen to keep his emotions in check during Premier League Darts swansong

Taylor celebrates victory over Chisnall in Week One (credit:Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

Phil Taylor has vowed not to let sentiment get in the way of his quest for a fairy-tale seventh Premier League title in what he insists will be his final appearance in the competition.

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Taylor, 56, will call time on his illustrious career following this year's World Championship, ending three decades in the top echelons of the sport. 

The Stoke great is in the midst of his thirteenth Premier League campaign and is aiming to regain the prestigious title for the first time since 2012, having lost out to rival Michael van Gerwen in the 2013 and 2016 final.

Taylor is the only ever-present left standing in the competition since it began back in 2005, and he while he insists his farewell tour will be a test of character, he remains fully focused on the task in-hand.

"It's my last one so I'm just going to enjoy it," Taylor told live-darts.com. "When you first think about retirement you get a bit of a lump in your throat but when I sit back and think about it, I'm quite looking forward to it.

"It's time for me to move on, it's a young man's game and I'm not a young man anymore.

"It's been quite an easy decision. "It's crippling when you can't play to the level you used to.

"Your motivation goes, it's ever so strange. Practicing for even 2-3 hours a day becomes hard work along with all the travelling."

Taylor dominated the infant years of the Premier League, notably embarking on a staggering 44-match unbeaten run between 2005 and 2008, as well as landing two nine-dart finishes against James Wade during an unforgettable Finals Night at Wembley Arena in 2010.

He is the last of the original 16 players who broke away to form the World Darts Council (now known as the Professional Darts Corporation) 25 years ago to still be competing on the circuit and maintains he is proud of what he has helped to build.

"It was a different game when I first started," added Taylor. "People played more for the enjoyment but it's a lot more serious now.

"The amount of people who come and watch us has grown, as have the viewing figures and the prize money.

"I'm pleased it's gone so well. I always thought darts would pick up if it had the right promoter.

"Barry [Hearn] came along at the right time and he's a genius at what he does."

Having opted not to compete in March's UK Open, 'The Power's' immediate priority is challenging for a seventh Premier League title, starting by securing a top four finish following the 16 weeks of round-robin competition.

"I'd love to qualify for The O2," he admitted. "That's my first ambition this year so I'm going to try and start with a bang.

"I've got new darts which are suiting me down to the ground and I think this year will be one of my best years.

"It's only a few missed doubles that have cost me titles lately, I've been there or there abouts and haven't played badly very often.

While Taylor will not feature on the PDC tour as of 2018, he will be heavily involved in the exhibition circuit, with a three-week tour of Australia in the pipeline, and says he has no plans to follow in the footsteps of the likes of John Part and Wayne Mardle in becoming a TV analyst.

"I don't think I've got time for that, to be honest!" he joked. "We're already being booked for work now for the next three years.

"I don't really know what's around the corner. All I know is, for the next couple of years I'll be working and I'll probably earn more doing that than I am playing at the minute because I'm not winning.

"I'll still be doing something, I shan't be sat at home with my pipe and slippers, I'm not that type.

"I'll always be involved somewhere along the line. Darts will never let me retire."


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Taylor keen to keep his emotions in check during Premier League Darts swansong

Phil Taylor has vowed not to let sentiment get in the way of his quest for a fairy-tale seventh Premier League title in what he insists will be his final appearance in the competition.

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