Phil Taylor bows out at the end of the 2017 season and the World Darts Championship at Ally Pally will be his final even, bringing the curtain down on a colourful and hugely decorated career. There have been many up-and-coming players who have been dubbed 'the next big thing' but very few have been able to come anywhere close to matching the success and longevity of the 'The Power'. One potential successor is Michael Van Gerwen, with the Dutchman dominating the sports over the past couple of years. Will MVG ever be able to match the legacy that is set to be left behind by Taylor?
Taylor is likely to get a terrific reception as he brings an end to his glittering career. He will be hoping to land a 17th title at the North London venue and bow out in style. He has featured in 91 PDC Finals, winning on 79 occasions as well as adding a further eight PDC minors and can also boast a decent record with the BDO. The Power has won just one title in 2017 when he beat Peter Wright at the World Matchplay in Blackpool, a tournament that Taylor has a particular fondness for.
He hasn't won the PDC World Championship since beating Michael Van Gerwen in the 2013 final and has been priced up as the fourth favourite at 14/1 in the online betting markets ahead of this year's tournament, which gets underway on December 14. MVG is the favourite for the event and is aiming to pick up just his third victory in the competition and also defend his crown. The Dutchman beat Gary Anderson 7-3 in last year's final and many pundits expect his recent domination in this event to continue.
Van Gerwen is significantly younger than Taylor and far less experienced but he has displayed a similar ruthlessness which helped the Power reach the top and become one of the greatest darts players ever to grace the sport. The Boxtel-born thrower became the youngest ever winner of a BDO ranking event in 2006 at the age of 17 and reached the last 16 of a PDC event just two years later. He started at a young age and is still only 28 years old which is 29 years Taylor's junior.
The Power didn't take up the sport seriously until he was 26 and didn't land his first title for a further two years. Starting later in life allowed Taylor to display a sense of maturity when making career decisions but it also meant he was always playing catch-up. MVG has taken time off in 2017 due to the birth of his daughter Zoe but this doesn't appear to have affected his dominance with titles landed at the Grand Slam of Darts and the Players Championship since returning to the fold.
Taylor won eight PDC majors throughout 2008 and continued his dominance with another nine the following year. MVG has shown a similar level of potency landing eight majors in 2015 before upping his total to nine last season. He already has six to his name in 2017 despite taking time off and if his conversion rate continues at this rate, he could easily match Taylor's imperious record.
There is still an awful long way to go and remaining on top of your game is easier said than done. There is plenty of travelling, stress and pressure involved with competing on the PDC Tour and MVG must continue to juggle these alongside being a father but he hasn't shown any ill-effects yet. With age on his side, there is absolutely no reason to suggest he won't be able to replicate the legacy which is set to be left behind by Phil Taylor.
Phil Taylor is the most successful dart player of all time. Below is just a small selection of his many achievements.
World Champion 1990, 1992
World Masters 1990
World Darts Trophy 2006
World Champion 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2013
World Matchplay 1995, 1997, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2017
World Grand Prix 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2013
Grand Slam 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2014
Premier League 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2012
Champions League 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013
Desert Classic 2002, 2004, 2005, 2008, 2009
European Championship 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011
UK Open 2003, 2005, 2009, 2010, 2013
US Open / World Series of Darts 2006, 2007, 2008,
Players Championships 2009, 2011, 2012
The Masters 2013
Champions League 2016