17th March 2007 – Bigwigs, Audenshaw @ UK Open NW Regional Finals
DartsMad – Hi Mick, first things first – Happy St Patrick’s Day! Let me get you a pint of cold Guinness. Ok, you had a pretty good 2006, I presume you were happy with the way things went for you?
Mick McGowan – Yes very happy. Especially with the second half of the year. Last year was only my second full year in the PDC and it turned out to be a bit of a watershed for me. I have lots of dedication and I’m a good learner – last year it all paid off. I started the year relatively unknown and ended up at the World Championship qualifiers as one of the favourites and with loads of pressure on me. It was the most pressure I’d been under really and I went and cruised it! So all in all I’m very happy with 2006 and hope to build on it this year.
DM – So have you set yourself any targets for 2007?
MM – I basically want to qualify for all the majors. It makes a big difference to qualify as the points add up to give you a better chance of qualifying for the next one, and so on. Once the ball starts rolling each event helps contribute to the next. I’m also aiming to break into the top 16 this year. So far so good and I’m track to do so.
DM – We’re at the UK Open regional final – where does this tournament rank on your list of priorities?
MM – For me it’s second only to the World Championship. I really like the event and I want to do well in it. I’m currently 16th on the UK Open Order of Merit so I’m well placed. When we get to Bolton I want to go far and hopefully win it.
DM – How have you done previously?
MM – I played in it in 2005 and 2006 and got to the Last 64 both times. I really hope to improve on that this time around.
DM – I’ve been comparing this tournament to the News of the World back in the day. Did you ever get to play in the NOTW and how do you think it compares?
MM – I did play in it once – a regional qualifier. I lost! There are lots of similarities between the two. The big open nature of them for sure, but the UK Open is a longer format.
DM – In sport, generally over time standards rise. We are seeing 100 averages quite regularly now and I think the overall standard is noticeably on the up. 9-darters are almost expected rather than hoped for. One specific area that comes into focus for me is that period around 200-250 down where you need to set up your out-shot. Do you pay particular attention to this area in terms of practice and mental arithmetic?
MM – Yep, I certainly do. It’s fine margins now in this game and this can make all the difference. I always try to leave a two dart finish where I can so you have to be thinking about it early.
DM – In the mid 80’s there were reportedly 14 televised tournaments! Do you think that’s saturation? Which maybe fed the decline? Do you think the current balance is right? Do you wish the PDC tourneys were on The BeeB? And do you think it will happen in the near future?
MM – I don’t think that’s saturation, it’s a quick and exciting game so there’s room for plenty of televised tournaments. It does need some variation and not the same old thing and there’s definitely an opportunity at the moment. I think there could be more on tv and the BBC should be televising more darts. It’s ridiculous that they don’t to be honest.
DM – Where in the world (or the universe if you prefer) would you like to travel to play darts?
MM – Australia. I played there in the World Cup for the Republic of Ireland in 1997 and would love to go back.
DM – Brilliant. Hopefully a couple of wins will pay for a trip back there for you! I’ll come along to interview you again if that’s ok. Cheers for now and good luck with your assault on the top 16.