Gerwyn Price became both the 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 on the biggest stage there is at the PDC World Darts Championship.
Sunday afternoon, the 35-year-old turned in a 7-3 decimation of Scotsman Gary Anderson. More importantly, Price took 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 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 and streaky competitor earned him boos from opposing fans, as well as fines for excessive celebration.
Price had an Almost Perfect Day
On Sunday, he claimed the first title for his country and laid to rest any doubts about whether he has the skill to back up his theatrics. In Alexandra Palace, Price took 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 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 the match dart on his 12th attempt for the title.
𝗧𝗛𝗘 𝗖𝗛𝗔𝗠𝗣𝗜𝗢𝗡 𝗢𝗙 𝗧𝗛𝗘 𝗪𝗢𝗥𝗟𝗗… 🏆
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
After Price’s victory, which was worth £500,000, PDC officials announced Sunday that they are hopeful the upcoming season, which usually starts in February, can begin sometime around the first week of April because of current COVID-19 guidelines.
The Premier League Darts season will feature the top 10 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.