Kevin Painter announces his retirement from professional darts

Former major champion Kevin Painter has announced his retirement from competitive darts after three decades as a professional.

Painter, 53, made his BDO World Championship debut in 1994 and went on to enjoy a successful career in the top echelons of the sport which included winning the 2011 Players Championship Finals.

Nicknamed ‘The Artist’, Painter’s best performance at Lakeside saw him reach back-to-back Quarter-Finals in 2000 and 2001, before joining the PDC to elevate his career to the next level.

In 2004, he was famously involved in one of the most memorable World Championship finals of all-time against Phil Taylor at the Circus Tavern, squandering a 4-1 lead in an eventual sudden death leg defeat.

He went on to reach the Semi-Finals at Alexandra Palace in 2008, before landing his maiden major title at Players Championship Finals three years later, defeating Mark Webster in the final.

That triumph secured Painter a place in the Premier League the following year, in which he finished seventh.

Painter’s last major Quarter-Final appearance came in the 2014 World Grand Prix, before he dropped off the tour at the end of the 2018 season.

The Essex ace was unsuccessful in his first two visits to Qualifying School, and after missing out on a Tour Card for the third consecutive year, Painter announced he is to call time on his career.

He tweeted: “Well, I think my last game today is a message from the lord above, couldn’t lose that if I tried another 100 times, saying “Kev, time to retire now pal, you’ve had a great career just go enjoy the money you’ve earned as a pro last 25 years and relax.

“Have to agree, I’ll do exhibitions and chill.

“Its nothing to do with rushing into a decision just because Q School ends, people around me know I’ve been talking about it for a while now.

“I’m not unhappy, in fact the opposite, I feel a weight of expectation lifted. I will enjoy the fruits of what my ability has given me.”

Painter made 21 consecutive World Championship appearances between 1998 and 2018 and 24 in total.

Only Phil Taylor, Steve Beaton, Dennis Priestley and John Part made more PDC World Championship appearances.

In total, Painter picked up 19 titles during the course of his career, including the 1997 British Matchplay and British Open and two PDC floor titles.