Dart Me Up- Talking Darts With Aussie Pro Tony David


Born with the hereditary blood disorder of hemophilia, Australia’s Tony David walks with a limp and cannot fully straighten his right arm. Doctors said he would not live to see 20; Now 39, the man can shoot darts with the fluid precision of a

Born with the hereditary blood disorder of hemophilia, Australia’s Tony David walks with a limp and cannot fully straighten his right arm. Doctors said he would not live to see 20; Now 39, the man can shoot darts with the fluid precision of a heat-seeking missile. See, the exact point where David’s right arm locks up, happens to be the perfect release point for throwing projectiles, so his debilitating blood disorder has inexplicably made him a natural-born shooter. David (the 2002 World Champ) is currently ranked 238th in the world but he’s on a hot streak right now having just beaten Australian No.1 Simon Whitlock (8th overall) 7 - 1 in the Final of the Central Coast Australian Classic last week.

Is there strategy in darts?
It’s a game of chess when you’ve got two players at the ultimate level of the sport. He does everything I do and I do everything he does. Strategy means a lot.

What got you hooked on darts?
Initially I was hell-bent on playing snooker and eight ball. Obviously with my blood disorder I had to play sports that did not involve body contact. I just happened to be in a club in my hometown and got conned into a game of darts. The people I threw with were surprised at my skill level since I’d never played before. Basically the blokes were in awe at how easily I was able to hit the target. So I just kept playing with them whenever I was there and I got to learn the arithmetic of the game.

Ever done like Robin Hood and split a dart right down the middle?
It’s impossible with the way I fit my darts. I have done what you’re saying when I used a different stem. I’ve got a new stem that only has two prongs on it so I’ve diminished the Robin Hood shot by 50%. I’ve definitely hit the flights up the backside heaps of times and split them.

How many bull's-eys can you shoot in a row?
Putting three darts in the center, or three darts in the in the triple twenties, I'd be able to hit that one in ten.

How do you keep your nerves from getting the best of you in competition?
I just keep telling myself it doesn’t matter. If you hit it, you hit it, but if you don’t, you don’t. And I try to play to the best of my ability every time I go out. By doing that I’m keeping myself grounded, I’m on earth. I’m not becoming something that’s bigger than my boots. Winning a world title can do one of two things, it can make you or it can ruin you. Depends how you take it.

Ever hustle someone in pub just for kicks?
Not in darts, I wouldn’t. When I first started eight ball in my hometown, everyman and his dog was down [at the pub], and they always wanted to play for five dollars or a drink. That hustle environment was always on the pool table. I had an ability that was a lot greater than the people that I played darts with and the way I looked at it if I was going to hustle these people and take money off them that would give me a bad name. I would sooner start a tournament at the pub where everybody puts five dollars in, and run a blind draw. Then there’s no hustle, it’s called a competition.

Why do People call you Boomerang?
Well we all know what boomerangs do, when you throw them they always come back. In quite a few of my matches I’ve gotten behind and I came back, or I’d go out in front and then I’d start fading away a little bit and then I’d come back again. A lot of the English public saw that and they wrote placards up calling me Tony ‘Boomerang’ David.

Is there more etiquette in darts than other pub sports?
I think there is more etiquette in darts because it has got a uniform set of rules. Every pub has got a different set of rules for eight ball and you tend to get into arguments. I’ve been in pubs where pool cues have been broken over heads but I’ve never seen anybody throw darts in temper, especially at another individual.

What about your own reputation for darts pranks?
Yeah, I guess I try to do those all the time. You take the sting out of the bell, so you got the stem and the flight with no point to it. When T.V. cameramen are filming me playing darts or photographers are trying to snap photos of me, I’ll quietly unscrew one of the sharp bits and then as I’m posing, I’ll throw a dart at them and they’ll have a heart attack. I guess that’s my wicked sense of humor.

There’s probably more darts games than drinking games, what’s the craziest one you’ve played?
I was in a tournament in the outback in Australia in 96’ and every time a 180(perfect score) was thrown they gave us a jug of beer so the race was on to see how many jugs we could get and the tournament ran for two days. I picked up 32 jugs of beer and I don’t drink. There were a lot of telecom workers there working on the phone lines and after I won the event I said ‘here yah go, 32 jugs of beer for yeh’ and they couldn’t believe their eyes.

Some people say that one or two drinks can relax you and make you a better shooter, any truth to that?
I think that that’s more psychological then anything else. A lot of people think I’m handicapped because I don’t drink but then again maybe I think they’re handicapped because they do. It’s a known fact that alcohol diminishes the hand eye coordination which is why they have limits on how much to drink when you drive a vehicle and I see darts as a weapon and I think there should be some constraints on being in charge of a weapon and under the influence.

Would you ever throw a dart in self-defense?

Even if you were in a back ally and a guy was about to mug you?
No I don’t think I’d do anything. I don’t think I’d be able to think quick enough, I think I’d just run.

This story first ran in REV Magazine

Copyright © Mike Dojc, 2006

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