Michael van Gerwen admitted that the best player won the inaugural Champions League of Darts in Cardiff after 16-times World Champion Phil Taylor rolled back the years to claim victory on Sunday.
Taylor enjoyed two triumphs over world number one van Gerwen in the new tournament, which saw PDC darts broadcast live across the BBC for the first time, with ‘The Power’ prevailing in the group stage and in the final.
van Gerwen defeated Robert Thornton and Peter Wright either side of his round robin defeat to Taylor to reach the semi-finals, where he produced a brilliant performance to see off reigning World Champion Gary Anderson.
However, he was unable to repeat that form in the decider as Taylor bossed the clash billed as ‘the greatest now versus the greatest ever’ – and van Gerwen conceded that he was second best.
“Phil played better than I did,” admitted the Dutch star, who will head to Dublin this week as he bids to recapture the World Grand Prix title.
“I played very well against Gary but maybe the tank was empty against Phil and you have to be at your best to beat him whenever you play him.
“It is not possible to win everything and this is the first major title I haven’t won this year. The best player over the weekend won it and I don’t have any complaints, except with myself.
“Phil hasn’t won a big one for a while so this will make him even more dangerous now but I will do everything I need to do to make sure I’m back at my best in Dublin. I feel fantastic and I am playing very well nearly all of the time. It wasn’t my night but it will be next time.”
van Gerwen has been drawn against Steve Beaton in the first round of the World Grand Prix, which commences on Sunday evening with ‘Mighty Mike’ playing his opening encounter on Monday night.
The Dutchman won the tournament in 2012 when he claimed his first major PDC title and reclaimed in 2014 but lost in last year’s final to Scotland’s Robert Thornton.