Phil Taylor all set for Wales showdown

Phil Taylor
Phil Taylor has won a record 15 World Championships.

A Welsh Open darts event is to take place in 2012, with Cardiff International Arena the preferred venue.

Professional Darts Corporation chief Barry Hearn, speaking ahead of Thursday's Premier Darts League fixture in Wales, confirmed talks are underway.

Hearn said Welsh darts fans cannot get enough of the sport and bringing the event to Cardiff would prove popular.

"I just think we're in the right place at the right time," he said.

Premier League Darts (PDC) is played around the UK, but the Welsh leg of the tournament on Thursday is said to be the fastest sell-out in 2011.

"The standard these players are now playing to has never been seen before in darts," said PDC chairman Hearn.

"The excellence is really quite staggering and the rewards the players are quite rightly getting now have also risen to levels that have never been experienced before."

Phil Taylor claimed his fifth Premier League Darts title in 2010 with two nine-dart finishes in the same match and beating defending champion James Wade 10-8 in the final.

He will face Raymond Van Barneveld on the Cardiff oche on Thursday, while Wade takes on Gary Anderson, Simon Whitlock is up against Terry Jenkins and Adrian Lewis comes head-to-head with Welshman Mark Webster.

Speaking ahead of the games, Hearn said the new Wales Open in 2012 would form part of a four nations tournament to be played at venues in Wales, England, Scotland and Ireland.

He believes the popularity of darts is because the public can relate to ordinary people making a success of things.

"People can associate with a normal guy rather than some of the Premiership footballers earning thousands of pounds each week," Hearn said.

"I just think darts captures the TV market so well, it's so entertaining - it's not just the darts, its the whole experience of the evening.

"Clearly darts fans in Wales love it because Cardiff was the fastest sell-out crowd in the Premier League throughout the whole country this year.

"They just seem to love it and we're attracting a younger audience as well." said Hearn, who hopes to announce full details of the Wales Open later this summer.