Canadian Jeff Smith hopes to be involved when live darts returns in July - InfoNews

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Canadian Jeff Smith hopes to be involved when live darts returns in July

Canadian Jeff Smith is seen during his Grand Slam Of Darts match against Ted Evetts, in Wolverhampton in a Nov. 13, 2016, handout photo. Add darts to the list of sports returning to live action. The Professional Darts Corporation announced Friday that live darts will return next month with the launch of the PDC Summer Series in England.THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-PDC, Christopher Dean, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
June 12, 2020 - 8:04 AM

Add darts to the list of sports returning to live action.

The Professional Darts Corporation announced Friday that live darts will return next month with the launch of the PDC Summer Series in England.

All 128 PDC Tour card-holders will be invited to compete in five one-day Players Championship events from July 8-12, to be played behind closed doors at Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes.

Jeff (The Silencer) Smith, the lone Canadian on tour, says he will participate providing he is allowed to travel.

The PDC says the events are subject to British government's rules covering overseas visitors, saying it will announce a revised schedule of non-ranked competitions for the same dates in the event that quarantine restrictions make it impractical for non-British players to take part.

Each event will have a prize pool of 75,000 pounds ($127,900).

The PDC kept going during the COVID-19 pandemic via the Unibet Home Tour, which saw players take part in tournaments remotely at their homes.

Smith, the lone Canadian on the PDC Tour, won his four-man group to advance to the playoffs, where he finished second in his group after losing to England's Joe (The Rockstar) Cullen in a May 31 decider to see who advanced to the eight-man semifinals.

"I was proud of our players and staff who broadcast 43 nights of live remote darts through the innovative PDC Home Tour, which thrust darts into the limelight in a unique way at a time when almost all other sports were unable to provide any form of competitive action," PDC chairman Barry Hearn said in a statement.

The move to darts played behind closed doors is the second phase of the PDC's return to action. Playing in front of fans is the third step.

Smith, from Hampton, N.B., won his way back onto the circuit in mid-January at the PDC Qualifying School in Wigan, England, after landing a 110 checkout in the deciding leg of his 5-4 playoff win over Japan's Seigo Asada.

In February, he made it to the final in his first event before losing 8-4 to former world champion Gary (Flying Scotsman) Anderson at the Players Championship One in Barnslet, England.

He left Europe in March in the wake of PDC tournament cancellations and warnings that Canadians needed to return home.

A proud Canadian, Smith has used "New Orleans is Sinking" by the Tragically Hip as his walkout music on tour, although he says he has been having some copyright issues with the song. Bryan Adams' "Summer of 69" may be his next anthem.

Smith, who was 14 when he started as a youth player with the National Darts Federation of Canada, made it to the final of the 2016 BDO World Championship where he lost to Scott Waites.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 12, 2020.

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News from © The Canadian Press, 2020
The Canadian Press

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