Phil 'The Power' Taylor tonight sensationally threatened to walk away from darts after his grudge match against Chris Mason at the Ladbrokes.com World Championship spilled over into open hostility.
Mason had been quoted in a national newspaper today, saying he does not like the 13-time world champion and accusing him of being arrogant and materialistic.
The comments only served to fire up Taylor, who eased to a 4-0 victory which, while not of the standard of his Boxing Day win against Mick McGowan, was still thoroughly emphatic.
But at the end, angry words were exchanged between the players – with Mason clearly unwilling to let his opponent walk off stage until he had said what he wanted to say.
In his post-match interview with Sky Sports, Taylor described what Mason had said as “filth” and claimed he would rather quit the game than have to put up with any more slurs on his character.
“During the match, he was arguing with the crowd and at the end he ‘effed and blinded’ at me,” said the 46-year-old from Stoke.
“I don’t like it, and there’s no need for it.
“I don’t want it. If they are going to do that then don’t invite me again, because I’m not going to play with people who are going to ‘eff and blind’ at me.
“I shook his hand and went to go and he said ‘Don’t effing something else’. I don’t like it and I won’t put up with it.”
Asked what he could do about it, Taylor replied: “I’ll just walk away. Keep the game – I don’t want it. I’m not going to listen to filth when I’m trying my hardest.
“I’ve put 18 years of my life into this game and I won’t be talked to like a piece of dirt. I won’t put up with it. You can get someone else to take my place, because I’m not putting up with it any more off people like him.
“I’ll see him upstairs in a minute, and we’ll see how big and brave he is.
“I’ve had it for years off the players. It’s silly. They don’t work hard enough and they are blaming me for their mistakes. It’s not my fault. I’m just a working-class man who has done well for myself.”