Phil Taylor is on a redemption tour that will take him to another title at the World Matchplay.
On Thursday, Taylor advanced to the semifinals by beating Justin Pipe after averaging 104.38 for the match. He won 16-10.
After a dramatic win in the round previous, the 13-time champion advanced with relative ease. However, this was close through the first 11 legs. Pipe even hit 10 180s and two 11-darters in the contest, but still couldn't last the distance.
While Taylor played great, after his victory the talk wasn't centered on his performance.
Eric Barstow is harshly questioning Taylor's sportsmanship after "The Power" appears to have taken credit for a double 12 that was actually outside its mark.
Taylor didn't exactly meet the attack head on, but he did talk about how it affected his play.
Sky Sports passed along the following quotes from Taylor:
I've been ripped apart this week by the press, by some of the comments people have been making.
It's very difficult to get up there and concentrate fully when you're getting called a cheat by some people in the crowd. It's not fair and it's wrong.
I was struggling (at the start) to be honest with you. But then I just seemed to trip into gear, I thought, 'you're in a world championship here, get your head together'. My head wasn't right tonight.
However, he is looking to put that all behind him now.
Whether Taylor is telling the truth or not, there is no doubt this will leave some sort of stain on his grand legacy. His dominance has led him to stardom not typically reserved for dart players. In 2010, the holder of a record 16 World Championships was the runner-up for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award. That made him the only person in his profession to make it inside the top three in voting.
Now that popularity and spotlight can quickly turn against him.
If he wilts in the face of these allegations, it will be easier to cast guilt upon him. However, if he stands tall in the face of criticism and authors a tremendous performance, he can ease the rising tide of disapproval.
It would certainly help this get a few more retweets:
Taylor obviously knows how to handle big stages, and the spotlight has never been on him as brightly as it is right now. I expect him to rise to the occasion like he has so many times before and win this tournament.
That will speak for louder than any quotes he could ever utter.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!