Plenty were unhappy at the events leading up to the 2018 UK Open. Barry Hearn was one of them.
Storm Emma raged across Britain, affecting the south-west of England particularly badly. It caused the cancellation of the Premier League fixture in Exeter. The snow threatened to shut down the UK Open as well. The show went on, with some significant absentees. 10 players were unable to make it, though Martin Schindler made a commendable and incredible dash to Minehead. The main casualty was that of the fans. Butlin's made the decision to shut the supporters out, attracting the ire of Hearn and many others.
The UK Open hosts posited that closing the venue to fans would dissuade others from travelling to the tournament in treacherous conditions. Only players, their family members and tournament officials were permitted entry to the playing areas. That included the main stage, which was moved to Reds bar. PDC chairman Hearn lashed out at the rationale.
"This is a poor excuse," he tweeted. "No one is travelling now so it wouldn't hurt at all to allow those on site to watch the darts. A stupid decision which does not serve you well."
After the announcement, fans on social media had questioned the PDC's role in the fan shutout. PDC Chief Executive Matthew Porter implied that the organisation had nothing to do with the decision. Hearn's comments appear to back that up.
Click here for a full breakdown of the UK Open prize money.