Phil Taylor has no regrets about his retirement decision and is treating his final year on tour as a lap of honour.
Widely recognised as the greatest darts player ever, and largely responsibly for the upsurge in the sport’s popularity in the last decade, the Power announced in January that 2017 would be his last year on the circuit.
“This is the right time. I have a sense of relief,” 56-year-old Taylor told RTÉ Sport.
“I’m quite looking forward to it now. I’m ready for retiring now.
“I’m just going to enjoy [the year]. I'm not going to knock myself out, kill myself anymore, just enjoy it.”
The 16-times world champion has struggled to stay up with the new breed and finds himself seventh in the PDC’s order of merit.
Last season he only once bested world number one Michael van Gerwen, that win coming in the inaugural Champions League.
More than anything it was the hectic schedule that forced his decision to step away, citing a desire to spend more time with his grandkids as a primary motivating factor.
Really looking forward to tomorrow night in a great city and venue. Gonna be a fantastic atmosphere. Are you ready Dublin? #Darts— Michael Van Gerwen (@MvG180) April 5, 2017
He added: “The reaction has been okay. Most people have don't want me to retire and they tell me that they'll miss it and I will too, but there are other things I want to do.
“I want to slow down now and do other things with my life, like spending time with my grandchildren before they grow up.
“It wasn't a hard decision. The hardest part is the motivation. My body can't take four or five hours in the practice room any more, and the travelling takes its toll too.
“I can't physically do it anymore, and to qualify for all the tournaments you have to do the groundwork.
“I just want to enjoy my life and this year I want to enjoy my darts. I've had 30 years of being top of the tree, but if I get beaten then so be it.”
The Stoke man faces old rival Raymond van Barneveld tonight in Dublin’s 3Arena, with Taylor looking to, temporarily at least, leapfrog the Dutchman into the play-off places with a win.
Barney has two games on the card this evening and has a chance to stay in the top four even with defeat to Taylor in the second of the night’s games.
Taylor has won the Premier League six times but the last victory came in 2012. Winning a competition of this status in his final year would be a huge achievement, he admits.
“It's a massive event now and it would be something special to win it this year, but also I'm just wanting to enjoy every night too,” he said.
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