QUEENSLAND darts professional Gordon Glen Mathers had to put family time on hold as he sought to establish himself on the Professional Darts Corporation Tour in the UK.
The 40-year-old from Brisbane has spent just six months out of the past two years with his wife Kaylene and their four children after setting off in November 2020 to bid for a spot on the PDC Tour through Q-School.
He managed to claim a place by finishing eighth on the Q-School Order of Merit and has based himself in the UK ever since.
Mathers, who goes by the nickname GG, is ranked 75 on the PDCs Order of Merit now and needs to make the top 64 by January next year to keep his tour spot.
It will be a tough ask but Mathers, who will take part in the PDCs flagship roadshow World Series of Darts tour in Townsville, Wollongong, and Hamilton in New Zealand in August, has few regrets about following his darting dream.
Its been second to none being on the pro tour with all the great players in there at the moment, he said.
I am missing the family immensely, not just the wife and children but my three brothers and sister. I come from a close-knit family, so its been pretty hard. But I have no other regrets.
The next six months will see where we end up.
Mathers will seek some rest and relaxation when he returns home for the PalmerBet Queensland Darts Masters at the Townsville Entertainment and Convention Centre from August 12-13 before heading south to the WIN Entertainment Centre in Wollongong for the PalmerBet NSW Darts Masters from August 19-20 and then heading off to Hamilton New Zealand for the NZ Masters a week later.
The Queenslander will enjoy seeing his family again and said that would hopefully inspire him to do better than his previous matches at the World Series Down Under, where he lost 8-0 to Michael van Gerwyn in Sydney in 2013 and 6-1 to Raymond van Barneveld in his hometown of Brisbane three years ago.
I have never played my best game on stage, Mathers, who has also experienced the big stage at the PDC World Championships, admitted, and thats what I intend to do after being given these three opportunities.
With all the experience I have gained on the Pro Tour, I hopefully can deliver my best game on the TV to show the world that I can do it.
I dont feel the outside pressure, I wear my heart on my sleeve and my biggest pressure is from within.
While he has been on the Pro Tour, Mathers has had to find a home in the UK.
When Kaylene and the kids were there, they set up home but when the family returned to Australia, Mathers had to go back to his first UK abode, a bedroom at the house of Australian darting superstar Simon Whitlock in Waterlooville in the south of England.
Without Simon, I would not be here, Mathers explained
I would have had to go back home and get on the grind 9-5.
I have always said hes our best ever darts export from Australia.
Without him, I dont think the World Series would have been a thing in Australia.
Simon took me under his wing offered up a bedroom and said thats yours whenever you want it.
When the family came over for six months I moved out but when they went back there was no hesitation from Simon to say you can have your old room back.
Mathers said The Wizard was also good for his game and is hoping that Whitlocks assistance can help him keep his tour card come January.
After the 2020 world championships he changed the points in my darts, got me practising right, and without that I honestly dont believe I would have got through Q-School even, Mathers said.
I owe him everything for what he has done for me over the past two years.
While Mathers has had it tough over the past couple of years on the PDC Tour, he has no qualms about telling other players in Australia to follow in his footsteps.
To eke out a career in darts, you simply cant do it in Australia, he said.
Its such a vast country, the travel is too much, so you just couldnt do it on a professional basis.
To the younger players such as Gold Coasts Robbie King, I suggest they do it sooner rather than later.
I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience playing on the Pro Tour, its out of this world, so I would definitely encourage those younger guys to give it a go before its too late.
By Phil Dillon