Owen Bates recently qualified for the Darts World Cup. The 20-year-old Englishman played an excellent season on the Challenge Tour, the so-called second division of darts after the Pro Tour. Bates finished second in the final standings and thus secured a ticket for ‘Ally Pally’. But that was not without consequences.
Bates will make his debut at the World Cup next month, a tournament followed by millions of people. At organizer PDC they always want to ‘color within the lines’ and so they have asked the Englishman to change his nickname. The reason: too sexual.
The Englishman’s nickname is now ‘The Master’. If you put that in front of his last name, you get Owen ‘The Master’ Bates. You get the problem. “Too hot for TV,” his sponsor Loxley Darts sent to the world, with a reference to the Englishman’s now banned darts. “Anyone have a suggestion for a new nickname?” Bates himself responded.
“They also have their rules for that,” responded fellow darts player Martijn Kleermaker in the Double Top podcast. “That they don’t want certain things. They don’t want sexist things, for example. There was also some controversy about Jermaine’s nickname (Wattimena, ed.): ‘The Machine Gun’. That could encourage people to become aggressive, while I’m like: What are you talking about, it’s a nickname. They think about it, but a nickname is just a nickname. This is going to be written on the signs in Ally Pally (laughs).”
At the end of October, Owen Bates was still crazy about his ticket for the World Championship and the accompanying two-year tour card for the Pro Tour.