Eliminator Four was the just ticket for TWO more Americans here at the Las Vegas Desert Classic, LIVE via Clearwater, Florida!
After tough going through three rounds Atlanta's Roger Carter knocked off former world champion, John Lowe, and Colin Monk and then dispatched Sean Palfrey to earn a spot on the televised stage alongside the only other American, Cincinnati's Tony Payne, who secured his place during the second qualifier.
And then, after three frustrating qualifying final losses to Deta Hedman (last year's winner and former world number one), Jane Stubbs and Crissy Howat, perennial US number one, Stacy Bromberg, white-washed Tricia Wright to take her position under the lights.
Fabulous darts were not quite fabulous enough for Ray Carver and Darin Young, each who came within a whisker of the stage. Young went down to Paul Williams in the finals of the third qualifier. Carver lost to Jamie Harvey in the finals of the fourth eliminator. For Carver it was heartbreak for the second year in row.
In semi-final action along the way four other Americans more than did their country proud. John Kuczynski lost to Steve Beaton in the semis of the fourth eliminator. Steve Brown went down to Alex Roy in the semis of the third eliminator. Dieter Schutsch and Sean Downs fell to Richie Burnett and Les Hodkinson respectively in the semis of the second eliminator.
So at T-MINUS EIGHT HOURS UNTIL SHOWTIME, there you have it! Tony Payne, Roger Carter and Stacy Bromberg will soon be stepping onto the stage to battle it out with the best of the best in the world.
Payne and Carter will be competing for a fat $22,000 check. They have their work cut out for them. Payne's been matched with Ronnie Baxter and Steve Beaton in the First Round Draw. Carter's been drawn with Colin Lloyd and Jamie Harvey. And that's only for starters. The final twenty-four also include the likes of ten-time world champion, Phil Taylor. There's the current world champion, John Part. There's Alan Warriner, Peter Manley, Dennis Priestly. The list is stellar and it goes on and on...
Yet, as awesome as the task will be for Payne and Carter, perhaps the greatest challenge is for Bromberg. There should be no doubt that Payne, Carter and Bromberg all have the darts to get the job done. But it's Bromberg who must face the demons. Only four women remain in the competition. To pocket the $4,000 first place prize Bromberg must get by three women who, each, have already sent her packing once during the past two days.
As the minutes tick down to the first hour of twenty-eight hours of televised darts I can barely contain my excitement. That's more than an ENTIRE FRICKIN' DAY of darts.
I can barely believe its happening. It's such a special moment for the sport of darts in America.
The cable guy has come and gone. He's fixed my television.
I've mowed the damn lawn.
The refrigerator's stocked.
I'm ready. I'm psyched. From 3:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. until 2:00 a.m. for then next three days and from 3:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. on Sunday my commitment is to darts and nothing but darts. I'm not sure there's enough beer in the fridge!
As much as I wish I could be with the rest of the faithful in the MGM Grand Arena I can assure anybody who is not there that, as amazing as the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) live extravaganza is, the televised production is even MORE exciting.
This, at least in my humble opinion, is due in very large part to one man: Sid Waddell.
If you haven't witnessed darts alongside the commentary of this Geordie wild-man you are in for the treat of your darting life. I will never forget my struggle just one year ago as I bounced back and forth between the Grand Arena and the PDC press room, torn between the live action and enthusiasm of the crowd and the high energy, metaphor-mixing commentary of the legendary Sid Waddell. The man's amazing.
He's like John Madden on speed.
He's like Mr. Bean with a dozen gerbils stuffed in his pants.
I'm telling you, here and now, Sid Waddell could make watching carbonated bubbles rise to the top of a pint of Budweiser more exciting than the Super Bowl.
From the Field,