Phil Taylor will make a sensational return to competitive darts in a new version of the world championship next year – at the age of 61.
The Power, who retired in January 2018, has accepted an approach to play in the inaugural World Seniors Darts Championship for over-50s.
And Mirror Sport understands at least 14 other former world champions, including Martin ‘Wolfie’ Adams, Andy ‘The Viking’ Fordham, John Lowe, Bob Anderson, Richie Burnett, Keith Deller, Dennis Priestley, John Part and Les Wallace have been invited to compete.
The return of Taylor, whose last competitive dart was in his shock 7-2 defeat by Rob Cross in the PDC World Championship final more than three years ago, will rock the oche.
Winner of an astonishing 16 world titles, 85 majors and 214 professional tournaments in a record-breaking career spanning 30 years, Taylor’s planned ride into the sunset on the exhibition circuit was cut short by the Covid-19 pandemic.
But he was persuaded to abandon his rocking chair and slippers as the big hitter in a star-studded field chasing a minimum £25,000 to the winner – more than Wayne Warren was paid when he won the last British Darts Organisation version of the world championship 15 months ago.
Promoted by MODUS Darts and Jason Francis, owner of snooker’s world seniors circuit, the tournament is pencilled in for February 2022.
Organisers are in advanced talks with venues both in London and outside the capital, with headline sponsors and TV coverage also in the pipeline.
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Potentially, the World Seniors Darts Championship would fill a vacuum left by the collapse of the BDO, and if the tournament is a commercial success it could lead to an expanded snooker or golf-style seniors circuit.
Two places will go to the winners of a qualifying tournament, open to all amateur darts players over 50, later this year.
But Gary Anderson, Peter Wright and Raymond van Barneveld, three world champions in their fifties, are unlikely to be released from their watertight PDC contracts, which forbids Tour card holders from playing under any other organisation’s banner, to take part.