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Double trouble: Has the World Grand Prix lost its way as a major showpiece?

Phil Taylor set to miss the 2017 World Grand Prix

Jamie Shaw in PDC Darts News 02 Dec 2019
Taylor was beaten by Steve West in the opening round in Dublin last year (credit:Lawrence Lustig/PDC)
Phil Taylor is likely to sit out the upcoming World Grand Prix in Dublin as he continues to scale down his tournament appearances in his final season as a professional.
Taylor, 57, will retire from the sport following this year’s World Championship, bringing the curtain down on an unparalleled career which has seen him claim more than 200 titles worldwide.
The 16-time World Champion has carefully handpicked his major tournament appearances so far this year and has reportedly opted out of a return to the Citywest Hotel to vie for a 12th World Grand Prix crown.
Taylor has had mixed fortunes in the double-in, double-out event in recent years, notably suffering back-to-back First Round exits in 2015 and 2016, with his last success on Irish soil coming back in 2013.
The Stoke great was absent from March’s Coral UK Open and will also miss both the European Championship (October 26-29) and Players Championship Finals (November 24-26) by virtue of his decision to skip all European Tour and ProTour events this year.
Taylor’s decision to miss the Unibet World Grand Prix, held from October 1-7, would mean he would be replaced by the next highest ranked player from the main Order of Merit, which is currently Simon Whitlock.
With Whitlock already assured of a place in the 32-man field by virtue of his position on the ProTour Order of Merit, the spot would be awarded to the next highest ranked player on the ProTour Order of Merit – which is currently Ronny Huybrechts.
Taylor, who has claimed the BetVictor World Matchplay and Melbourne Masters titles so far this season, will next feature in the Unibet Champions League of Darts live on the BBC – held in Cardiff from September 16-17.

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