The moment was so historic that Shaun Greatbatch no longer had to worry about a nickname. Since February 3, 2002 he was either the “Nine Dart Man” or “9-Dart”.
That evening, the Englishman became the first person to throw a nine-darter live on TV in the final of the Dutch Open against Steve Coote.
The nine-darter describes the perfect game when throwing darts. It is the minimum possible number of attempts to score 501 points by finishing on a double field. There are 71 different paths, Greatbatch chose this one: Triple-20, Triple-20, Triple-20 – Triple-20, Triple-20, Triple-20 – Triple-20, Triple-15, Double-18.
Darts legend John Lowe threw the first nine-darter in front of TV cameras on October 13, 1984. But the perfect game had never been seen live on television. Dutch TV and Eurosport made history together with Greatbatch. The Englishman was just ahead of the legend Phil Taylor, who threw his first nine-darter live on TV just a few weeks later at the UK Open.
However, the reason why his feat is being remembered by many again 20 years later is a sad one. Greatbatch passed away on Sunday at the age of 52 after a long illness. His wife Barbara and son Thomas announced the death on social networks.
After winning the Dutch Open, the 2006 World Championship semi-final at the BDO is one of his greatest successes. He played his last world championship in 2009 and was emotionally goodbye after his final match. As Greatbatch walked off the stage, the rest of the World Cup participants stood as a guard of honour. A year earlier he had been diagnosed with leukemia. His fight lasted 14 years.