The legendary 3x World Champion John Part took some time out of his insanely business travels schedule to do this interview with me.
John Part was the first oversees player to win the BDO World Championship, the first overseas player to win the PDC Championship, and the player responsible for halting Phil Taylor's incredible run of cosnecutive World Championships (1995-2002) in 2003.
It should also be noted that excluding Phil Taylor, Part is one of only 5 players to win the World Championship more than twice (the others being Bristow, Lowe, Van Barneveld and Martin Adams).
It is both my honor and privilege to bring you this interview:
Q1: You are a fan favourite and known as one of the most genuinely nice guys in the sport (who no one has had a bad word to say about). This makes you an ideal role model and ambassador for both the game of darts and any company you are associated with. Starting out who did you look up to if anyone?
JP: Bob Sinnaeve was the marquee Canadian player of the 1980's and his efforts proved it was possible to compete with the big bad British. Bob Anderson epitomized the playing style I wanted to emulate and was closest to who I identified with as a player.
Q2: You must literally have millions of air miles, do you ultimately think all the travel impacted on your performance and how did you manage to cram in practice (I’m sure Air Canada didn’t have dartboards up)?
JP: It's funny you only mention the air miles, because I have a very large amount of driving miles under my belt as well. There is no doubt travel has consumed and constituted a large portion of my darts efforts. I've tried to look at it as being like a trucker. You deliver goods, but only after putting in time on the road. Practice was done but certainly had to be sacrificed at times.
Q3: An obvious one, but how often do you practice these days (and your routine) and has age affected your physicality to practice for a long duration?
JP: As a devout every day thrower for decades I have adjusted my philosophy to reflect my age and condition. Part of practice was about building confidence and I now have that because I feel I will be physically 100% and ready when I do play with practicing more intermittently. To date, I am quite pleased with the results since I changed my philosophy. I practice now mostly by playing against a friend. Sometimes now I just throw at treble 20s for a while, as I feel the scoring phase is a must to have a chance in today’s game, and I'm very confident finishing in any case.
Q4: What was the first set of darts you owned and what weight were they?
JP: I believe the first set I purchased myself were by a small company called Cove and were 26, maybe 27 gm. A long tapered barrel which was the style that I adhered to for quite some time.
Q5: You recently indicated a return to full-time competition and re-signed with Unicorn, when some had surmised a quiet slip into retirement, after missing your first World Championships in 23 years. What has been the catalyst for the change of heart?
JP: I didn't actually. I may play less, but with more purpose, less pressure, and an intent to inflict as much damage as possible. I'm delighted at winning a tour card and ensuring I can participate as I see fit. I burned out a bit trying to do it all, and I've learned from that. I still have something left.
Q6: You showed your class with getting the Tour card the hard way, do you think there is any mileage in past world champions being given automatic tour card holders (as a mark of respect) by the PDC?
JP: No, I think its fine as it is. I do believe past World Champions should be invited to participate in the World Championship if they so desire. I always remember fondly watching the golf Masters, and seeing the great champions still get to participate, no matter how unlikely they would succeed.
Q7: Darts for some reason doesn’t tend to honour its past greats in the manner as other sports and I’m surprised that the PDC hasn’t picked up the ‘League of legends’ television concept, since there is still a very clear demand to see the legends of darts (and I imagine this will only escalate when Taylor and Barney retire). Is this something you’d be interested in if the PDC went this route?
JP: I love playing and competing. Also, I'd love a chance to become a thorn in Phil's side once again, so sign me up.
Q8: You have had an amazing career, and outside of your 4 Majors, over 40 (documented, so apologise if it’s more) other open or tournament wins. Other than your Majors what is your overall favourite win or most memorable performance (if you have one)?
JP: My most recent PDC win was the only U.K. euro tour event ever played. It was called the PDC U.K.Masters, and it was fully attended by the top of the World ranking table. I beat Kim Huybrechts, Gary Anderson, Mensur Suljovic, Simon Whitlock, Adrian Lewis and Stuart Kellett. Not too shabby, looking back now.
Q9: You are considered in many circles to be the best commentator and pundit in the business. You also started very young, in 1995 when although a World Champion you were still quite new to the scene and in your twenties. Was this always something you always wanted to do and gravitated to?
JP: I watched plenty of sports growing up and had got to know all the various commentators and styles of the North American sports scene. I was very familiar with the formula for a good commentary team without ever imagining I would be one day doing it.To this day I'm critical or admiring of my fellow broadcasting professionals as I watch anything. With experience I have become much more respectful all-around of the profession.
Q10: And lastly, what is a typical day in the life of Mr John Part these days?
JP: Isn't it strange that if you take the space out from between 'a' and 'typical' that it has the opposite meaning? Most of my days consist of a plethora of these types of observations. Maybe it's because of the pot of black coffee that I start each day with. It goes from there.
I would just like to take this opportunity to thank Mr Part for this opportunity and to wish him all the best in the future.