There can be no doubt, not at the moment anyway, Gerwyn Price is the best darts player in the world and his World Grand Prix success on Monday night underlined that.
In a sport defined by numbers, the evidence is now compelling. With a flick of his right hand, Price added a fourth major TV title to his CV, three of them ranking events – all of them inside the last two years.
The Iceman’s controversial Grand Slam of Darts success over Gary Anderson in November 2018 has created a winning machine.
Gerwyn Price is the most recent champion or runner-up in 5 of the PDC's 7 TV ranking events.
Anderson, Wade, Cross, Wright, Lewis and Barney have never had more than 3 ranking TV finals in a 12-month period.
Price has now won four of the last five tournaments to be played and risen to second in the world rankings. Twelve of the sets he played went the distance and that he managed to win 11 underlined the qualities that have turned him into a winner.
“He’s a winning machine. He just wants to win,” said Wayne Mardle.
“I think he’s got more composure than Michael van Gerwen, I’m not saying that he’s a better player than Michael. I still think that’s Michael van Gerwen – but composure-wise, you put Gerwyn Price in a last-leg decider against Michael… I think that he probably holds it together a bit more.”
Victory over surprise finalist Dirk van Duijvenbode was his sixth title of the year – more than anyone else on the PDC circuit this year.
Since that win over Anderson in Wolverhampton to lift his first major crown, Price has added two European Tour titles, the World Series of Darts Finals last month, successfully defended his Grand Slam with one of the best performances seen in a major final and added six Pro Tour titles.
He has won 22 of his last 23 matches, with the only defeat coming to a red-hot Devon Petersen who went on to win the German Darts Championship – even then Price was 5-1 up.
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Van Gerwen can rightly point to a decade of darting dominance but there is no question he is struggling for confidence. The great Dutchman has just four titles to his name this year, from six finals, while world champion Peter Wright has four titles from five finals – numbers that Price can now trump.
Price has been asked more times than he cares to remember about whether he is the best in the world. “Michael’s still the best player – he thinks,” he said in one of his media conferences this week.
It was said with a smile, but make no mistake, the No 1 ranking and a World Championship are very much on Price’s radar. He said so after becoming just the seventh player in history to defend a PDC televised major at last year’s Grand Slam.
“There’s a lot of players that win and you see the elation and think this is the moment. I don’t want to play it down for Gerwyn Price, but he kind of expects to win,” Mardle added.
“He’s mentioning the next event… other players wouldn’t care. It’s kind of Van Gerwen-like, this is won and I’m onto the next one.
“He’s now won four of the last five events, everything he does and says is professional. Everything about him on the board just oozes quality and he’s world No 2. He’s worked his way up to No 2 and I think, that’s over 20-odd events that he’s reached the final in during two-and-a-half years.”
His family were on the stage to witness him lift the trophy in Wolverhampton, such is the world in which we now live they were on the big screen on Monday night and the emotion was evident as it was throughout the week, not least in a nerve-shredding last-leg thriller against Dave Chisnall.
In the end:
11 set-deciding legs won out of 12
12/17 on starting doubles
11/18 on finishing doubles
…that's how you win the World Grand Prix https://t.co/5VhJEvvgCU
The Iceman held his head in his hands after the win and spoke about how much he missed his young family in an interview with Michael Bridge. The family were there again but on the big screen, via Zoom. It means a lot to the former rugby player who is now very much at home at the top of the darting tree.
Price is entrenched in sport having played professional rugby until not very long ago, there are not many harsher places to hone a competitive sporting edge than the front row of a scrum. It is no surprise there is passion when he flexes a bicep and screams ‘Come On’, screams that become quite something in the crowdless arenas of our time.
Just a couple of months ago the Welshman admitted he was not a fan of the fake crowd noise and the lack of spectators – not just because he has been used to being booed – he feeds off the emotion of the crowd.
There have been signs that the crowd are beginning to turn in the Iceman’s favour, the boos are not as commonplace and are starting to be replaced by something more welcoming. He is not quite a crowd favourite but he is no longer the pantomime villain of a year ago.
Price is winning and winning regularly, he is coming into form at the right time as well.
To quote Wayne Mardle, it is trophy time. The big events stack up in the coming six weeks as the Winter Series, the European Championship and the Players Championship Finals take place.
Not to mentioned the Grand Slam of Darts, the tournament where he made his major breakthrough.
Two years on from that controversial triumph over Anderson, Price has gone from strength to strength and is well placed to add even more titles to his glittering resume. Looming large is the Grand Slam he has ruled for two years, which is moving to a venue he has bossed this week – there may be more to come.
Darts is back on Sky Sports on Thursday night with the thrilling conclusion of the Premier League Play-Offs, while the big tournaments continue in November with both the World Cup of Darts and Grand Slam of Darts.
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