Gerwyn Price became both world champion and world No. 1 for the first time. The former professional rugby union and rugby league footballer did it the only way he knows how dominating the biggest stage is: the PDC World Darts Championship.
Sunday afternoon, the 35-year-old turned in a 7-3 decimation of Scotsman Gary Anderson. More importantly, Price takes the world No. 1 title from Dutchman Michael van Gerwen, becoming the first new world No. 1 in more than seven years.
The fiery Welshman has had an improbable rise to prominence in his second professional sport. In 2014, the barrel-chested champion came straight from the rugby pitch to win his tour card at a leisure center in Wigan among hundreds of amateur contenders.
After turning in a rough first couple of years as a professional, Price’s reputation as a bold if not streaky competitor earned him boos from opposing fans as well as fines for excessive celebration.
Price Had an Almost Perfect Day, Except When it Came Time to Close
Sunday, he can claim the first title for his country and laid to rest any doubts about whether he has the skill to back up the theatrics. In Alexandra Palace, on the biggest stage, in front of no audience, Price shook down the 50-year-old veteran Anderson posting a sixth-set average of 136 that was the highest ever seen in a world championship final.
“I’ve never felt anything like that in my life. I’ve never felt pressure like that,” Price told Sky Sports in the wake of the win. “When you get that chance to win, you have three darts in your hand, and you think you will take it, but I’ve never been in that position to win the World Championship, and it was tough.”
Averaging over 100 and for almost the entirety of the match and going up 5-1, the only time the favorite Price (-135 on Bovada) showed nerves was as he neared the kill, missing 11 match darts in total.
But his last move, hitting double five, put him on top of the two-time PDC world champion for good. Price landed match dart at his 12th attempt for the title, the ranking, and the payout of £500,000.
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Here’s the moment Gerwyn Price made his dream a reality as he lifts the Sid Waddell trophy aloft, becoming the 2020/21 William Hill World Darts Champion! pic.twitter.com/sqC0W7t6Uj
— PDC Darts (@OfficialPDC) January 3, 2021
PDC officials announced Sunday that they are hopeful the season, which usually starts in February, can begin sometime around the first week of April. Current COVID-19 guidelines are prohibitive of having players or crowds congregate.
The Premier League Darts season will feature the top ten players globally, including Price and van Gerwen, along with the debuts of Portuguese professional Jose de Sousa and Belgian Dimitri van den Bergh. The new-to-circuit pair will make their debuts after their wins at the Grand Slam of Darts and the World Matchplay.