It would be impossible for anybody to compile a list of the five greatest darts players without having Phil Taylor ranked as number one.
‘The Power’ virtually rewrote the rule book on the sport and has dominated like no player before.
Beginning life in the BDO, the Stoke legend claimed two world titles before switching to the PDC after the split and carried on his dominance to secure 14 more and write his name into tungsten folklore.
With 15 World Matchplay titles, 11 World Grand Prix wins plus six Premier League crowns among any number of tournament triumphs, his record is head and shoulders above anyone else.
This may be his final year as a full-time professional but it would surprise nobody to see him go out with a bang and win one more major.
The man likely to be in his way is Michael van Gerwen, who has accepted the baton from Taylor as the current world’s best player.
Even Taylor in his pomp would have struggled to match the Dutchman on present form and there were times last year when he looked almost unbeatable.
‘Mighty Mike’ has two World Championships to his name and recently broke Taylor’s record three-dart average for a televised match, proving that he is fit to be called the world number one.
He is priced at 8/11 to win a third World Championship title at Alexandra Palace early next year. Keep an eye on these tips if you fancy an early punt on him keeping his winning form through 2017.
The 27-year-old has confessed that he will not match the veteran’s number of world titles as he does not intend to play much past his 40th birthday, but he is the most exciting player around today and doing things others can only only dream of.
The man who put darts on the map was Eric Bristow and ‘The Crafty Cockney’ is third on the list.
The 59-year-old was the dominant player in the 1980s, securing five world titles and five World Masters, while he was as intimidating back then as any player has bene since.
The Londoner played in an era when darts was popular but did not receive the same TV coverage as it does today but still managed to transcend the sport to become a celebrity away from the oche.
Things started to go wrong towards the end of the 80s when he suffered from so-called ‘dartitis’ – the darting equivalent of the ‘yips’ in golf - and he struggled to let go of his arrows with any authority.
But, ask anyone what they know about darts and the name Eric Bristow will never be far from their lips.
Raymond van Barneveld is another star who cut his teeth in the BDO, winning four world titles before joining the PDC.
A few pundits questioned whether he could compete with players of a higher standard and the Dutchman answered the emphatically by downing Taylor to win the 2007 World Championship in one of the greatest matches ever seen.
‘Barney’ continues to be popular to this day and his fans – the ‘Barney Army’ – appear in numbers whenever he plays.
Possessing the smoothest throw in darts, the 49-year-old has claimed the UK Open, Premier League and Grand Slam and is capable of beating anyone on his day.
John Lowe completes the list after winning three world titles and beating Bristow while he was at his best in the final of the 1987 World Championship.
While his great rival from London was brash and outspoken, Lowe was quiet and mild mannered, rarely getting flustered either during a game or away from the board.
His slow, methodical throw was a delight to watch and the 71-year-old Derbyshire man was a credit to the sport.