Former world champ runner-up promises a magic night of darts
SIMON "The Wizard" Whitlock has promised a magic night of darts when News Corp's International Pro Darts Showdown Series rolls into the Gold Coast on Wednesday night.
The world No.8 is only playing two of the four legs of the series because he is playing in the World Masters later this month before rejoining the PDC's Premier League.
Whitlock, 48, lost in the semi-finals to 16-time world champion Phil "The Power" Taylor in the semi-finals of the inaugural event at Brisbane's RNA Convention Centre last week after defeating Lucas Cameron and Ray O'Donell.
The former world champion runner-up was happy with his form but was hoping to finish on a high at the Gold Coast Events Centre.
"I had a good tournament," Whitlock said of his Brisbane performance.
"I was a bit unlucky against Phil I guess, but played a really good game."
Whitlock is hoping the next two days on the Gold Coast can help him prepare even more for the Masters starting on January 26 in Milton Keynes and the upcoming season-long Premier League.
"The best practice you can get is match practice," he said.
"Hopefully I'm in the other half of the draw to Phil and we'll see what happens."
Gold Coaster Robbie King made the semi-finals last week in Brisbane before losing to England's Andy Hamilton.
Whitlock said tournaments such as the International Pro Darts Showdown Series can only be good for the future of darts in Queensland and Australia.
"Darts is pretty big in Queensland," he said.
"I used to play here a lot and I know many players. The more the game is shown on TV and we get tournaments like this, then the bigger the game will get.
"Just having these tournaments is good for the up and coming players and newcomers who haven't been exposed to the big games yet.
"It's great experience for Robbie to get to play the likes of Phil, Kyle (Anderson), Andy and myself because it won't happen otherwise."
Whitlock will take on New Zealander Stuart Leach on the first night on the Gold Coast.
He will be hoping to get through to the last eight tomorrow but knows it will not be easy.
"They're all great players and getting better every year," Whitlock said of the Aussie and Kiwi qualifiers.
"I used to play against some many years ago and they have all improved."
Tickets are still available for both nights at Ticketek with the series moving on to Townsville and Mackay next week.
First night draw and order of play:
1 Jamie Harvey v Steven Macarthur
2 Russell Stewart v Brad Thorp
3 Johnny K v Robbie King
4 Andy Hamilton v GG Mathers
5 Devon Peterson v Lucas Cameron
6 Phil Taylor v Tic Bridge
7 Kyle Anderson v Rhys Mathewson
8 Simon Whitlock v Stuart Leach