Mark Webster opens up on “disappointment” of losing PDC Tour Card

Jamie Shaw in Darts Interviews 10 Dec 2019
Webster departs the Ally Pally stage after defeat to Paul Lim (Photo by Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

Former World Champion Mark Webster has opened up on his disappointment at dropping off the PDC circuit a decade since his switch from the BDO.

Webster, 36, will lose his status as a PDC Tour Card holder after failing to qualify for the upcoming William Hill World Championship, culminating an 18-month struggle for results.

The Welsh left-hander enjoyed his finest hour when he was crowned BDO World Champion at Lakeside in 2008 before joining the PDC a year later and going on to reach two World Championship Semi-Finals, as well as the Players Championship Final.

Appearances in TV majors have proved few and far between for ‘Webby’ in recent years, and though his form improved towards the backend of 2019, it was not enough for him to avert dropping off the tour.

“I’m disappointed,” Webster told Live Darts. “I didn’t think it would come to this.

“You have ruts in sport which is part of it and I knew it was going to be difficult to maintain the highs of 2011 and 2012 but I didn’t envisage my Tour Card to be gone.

“It is what it is and I’ve just got to deal with it and have a plan going forward.

“I’ve played better the last few months but I’ve left it far too late.

“Even though my form was better I wasn’t picking up enough wins.

“I haven’t won my board [on ProTour] all year and that highlights my problem, my biggest pickup in two years has been three grand so I’ve just not been good enough.

“A lot of people have a poke at the system, the system’s fair and I just haven’t competed in it.

“I’ve just got to go away now and decide what I want to do in the new year.”

Webster, who also works as a pundit and commentator for Sky Sports and BBC Sport, admits he is still undecided over his playing future and is mulling over a trip to Qualifying School in January.

He added: “My general feeling is I go to Q School and give it a go because I’m playing alright.

“I’m sure I’ll get the bug back and we’ll see how it goes.

“It’s not something I look forward to but it could give me the kick up the backside I need.

“If I get the Tour Card then great, I go back on the tour, if I don’t then I don’t know what I’ll do after that to be honest.”

Webster featured in the 2011 Premier League and two World Cup of Darts finals, while also picking up a Players Championship title in 2010.

The Denbigh ace remains one of the most decorated darters ever to hail from Wales, but despite his success, he maintains he still has regrets over not achieving more during the peak of his career.

“I think it’s an easy thing to say ‘no regrets’ but I’ve got loads,” added Webster.

“I’ve done ok but I should have done better, the Players Championship Final losing to Kevin [Painter] was a bit disappointing and the UK Open Semi-Final against James Wade – I put myself in a good position to win that much, but didn’t.

“The Richie Burnett game came three days after I played Kevin in the final and that five day spell was kind of the start of the downward spiral for me and I never really recovered.

“I’ve got plenty of regrets but at the same time I’ve had loads of highs and they’re great when you get them.”