February 20, 2000. Bill Clinton was the US President. All Saints topped the UK charts. Manchester United took a big step towards the Premier League title by beating second-placed Leeds United 1-0. The Millennium Dome was still a thing. Ted Hankey was a reigning world champion. And Bradley Brooks was born.

Now Brooks is the youngest PDC Tour Card holder of all time. The Blackburn ace won his Tour Card as a 17-year-old in January 2018, becoming the first person born in the 21st Century to become a PDC professional. He averaged 97.91 in the second round at the UK Open last weekend, but was edged out 6-4 by former youth prodigy Kirk Shepherd. Even that was a positive in a career that continues to bloom.

“I’ve been putting the hours in on the practice board. That’s why I feel my results and averages are going up,” said Brooks in an exclusive dartsnews.com interview.

“I was really happy with the way I played at the UK Open. Missed a few doubles that cost me but, fair play to Kirk, he punished any misses. But that’s what I have to expect at this level.”

Mixing it

Playing to demanding standards is something Brooks is getting used to. Even at a young age, he has been propelled into the very highest level of darts. At any given weekend, he could be taking on the likes of Michael van Gerwen or Gerwyn Price. The only player he worries about is Bradley Brooks.

“I wouldn’t say I’m feeling the pressure,” said the Lancastrian.

“I know what I have to do, if I put pressure on myself it will only make it 10 times harder.

“So I’m just enjoying playing the best players in the world every week.”

Elite member

The Pro Tour isn’t Brooks’ only focus. As one of the corral of young talent gracing the game, he will be one to watch on the PDC Development Tour. His membership in the Target Darts Elite 1 scheme, which is headed by veteran Darryl Fitton, could give him an edge.

”I want to win a few events this year and play more consistently as last year I was very hit or miss.

With the way I’ve been playing I feel I’m one of the in-form players going into these events.”

“The Elite program is brilliant, giving loads of young players chances to work with the best manufacturers in the world. Darryl is brilliant with all his players, checking up and seeing if we are all good. He gives good advice which I’m sure every player listens to, going off the calibre of player Darryl is.”

Keep on keeping on

There’s a long way to go for Brooks. But time is on his side. Is developing his consistency the key to turning vast potential into tangible results on the PDC Pro Tour?

“Yes, 100 per cent. I feel that since I’ve been practicing more my consistency is coming too, I know that consistency doesn’t come overnight so I just need to keep practicing and keep doing what I’m doing.”

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Author: Ed McCosh