Taylor’s last competitive appearance came in the 2018 World Championship final (credit:Lawrence Lustig/PDC)
Phil Taylor has opened the door to a potential shock return to competitive darts following the release of Target’s ground-breaking new Swiss Point system.
The 16-time World Champion called time on his illustrious professional career 18 months ago and has since toured the world on the exhibition circuit.
The 59-year-old has continually dismissed any talk of a return to the PDC circuit, however he has exclusively revealed for the first time that he may be open to a comeback in the near future.
Taylor was speaking at Target’s 2019 product launch, in which his Generation 6 darts were unveiled, incorporating the new Swiss Point system – a revolutionary tool which allows points to be changed in a matter of seconds.
Taylor told Live Darts: “You practice on the practice board then you go onto the match board and it’s never the same.
“For me, I was going above the treble. Now I can change the points within probably 10 or 15 seconds, just like changing flights.
“So if I was dropping on top of the wire, I could have put a smaller point in or a larger point and maybe just dropped it down a fraction.
“That makes all the difference between hitting 60 and hitting a 180.
“The one thing being with Target is, we keep pushing forward and trying to improve.
“I’m going to practice with these, and if I get good, I’m going to come back, trust me.”
The Stoke legend remained coy about any comeback plans, and without an honourary wildcard from PDC Chairman Barry Hearn (similar to that granted to Jimmy White on the snooker circuit), Taylor would likely have to enter Qualifying School if he was to regain a Tour Card.
Meanwhile, Taylor’s fellow Target teammate Raymond van Barneveld is now entering the final chapter of his glittering career, and ‘The Power’ believes his long-time rival will relish playing without pressure come January.
He added: “I think he is just going to go out and enjoy it now.
“He was saying to me: “Have you missed it?” and I said “No I haven’t actually” because it’s the amount of travelling when you’re tired week-in, week-out.
“I’m nearly 60 now so it’s harder for me than it is for younger kids playing the game.
“I think Raymond will enjoy the retirement and enjoy working and making a bit of money for himself without any pressure.”
Taylor has witnessed a glimpse of the sport’s future first-hand this year when taking on 13-year-old sensation Leighton Bennett in two high-profile challenge matches.
The pair have shared one win apiece to date, and Taylor believes the teenager is fully deserving of a BDO call-up to November’s Grand Slam of Darts despite concerns over his age.
“I think if you’re good enough, you’re old enough, that’s my opinion,” offered Taylor.
“I’d love to see him in it.
“I don’t watch darts, but put him in the Grand Slam and I’d watch it.
“I would sit down and watch it, and whoever draws him – good luck!”