Phil Taylor is not feeling the Premier League pressure

Last Updated: 21/02/13 4:53pm

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Phil Taylor: Has three points from his first two Premier League matches

Phil Taylor: Has three points from his first two Premier League matches

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Reigning Premier League Darts champion Phil Taylor believes the pressure is off him as he prepares to take on Simon Whitlock in week three of the competition in Bournemouth.

Taylor, 52, followed up his opening-week draw with Michael van Gerwen by beating Adrian Lewis 7-3 in Aberdeen.

The World Champion believes the gap between him and pointless bottom three Lewis, Gary Anderson and Wes Newton allows him to relax ahead of the match with Whitlock, who he beat in last year's final.

"There's no rush this season and I just want to keep in the top six, so every point's crucial," said Taylor. "Nobody's wanting to lose in the first few weeks, and even to be on three points at the moment is massive - ask Wes Newton and Adrian Lewis.

"One point is massive, because you've got to go out and earn even one point every week. There's no mugs in this Premier League and it's tough, but it's enjoyable. I can relax a little bit because I'm not under as much pressure, and once I relax then I'll play properly."

Whitlock, who was the victim of Taylor's Premier League record 117.35 average when they met in Exeter last season, has picked up one win from his opening two games this campaign.

But the 43-year-old Australian is confident he can bounce back from last week's defeat to Gary Anderson in Aberdeen when he meets the world number one.

"I think Adrian Lewis needs to look in the mirror after two defeats in his first two matches. We've all been there, myself included, where you try to kid yourself that your form is going to turn around overnight."
Rod Harrington

"I'm feeling confident about my game at the moment," said Whitlock. "I'm finishing well and if I can improve my scoring power slightly, I'm sure the wins will come.

"Last week's defeat's behind me now and I'm looking forward to Bournemouth. It's always exciting when you play Phil - he provides a massive challenge for every player and you know what you have to do; score consistently and take your chances when they come along."

The third week of the season also sees current leader Raymond van Barneveld and unbeaten Van Gerwen meet in an all-Dutch affair at the BIC.

Van Gerwen has drawn both of his games so far, while Van Barneveld is the only player to have picked up two victories, against Anderson and Newton.

"It's important to make a good start because after nine weeks there is a cut-off and the bottom two are relegated," said 45-year-old van Barneveld. "You don't want to be one of those players and you have to play well and win as many games as you can.

"Then the target is the Play-Offs, which is really important for me after missing them last year. But I'm not worried about that yet - I see every game as a final."

The other matches in week three see unbeaten Scot Robert Thornton play Newton, 2011 champion Anderson face Andy Hamilton and two-time World Champion Adrian Lewis meet 2009 Premier League champion James Wade.

All matches are the best of 12 legs.

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