Robert ‘The Thorn’ Thornton took glory in the 2012 UK Open, becoming the first player in PDC history to beat Phil Taylor in a major televised final outside of the World Championship. The Scotsman had won the prestigious World Masters in 2007 before making the switch from the BDO the following year.
Thornton, who had stopped playing darts after becoming a father, picked up the game again in 2002 and qualified for his first BDO World Championship just three years later, where he reached the quarter-finals.
He claimed his first title in 2007 when he won the Central Scotland Open before going on to seal major success at the World Masters later that year. He produced an astonishing comeback in the final when he beat Darryl Fitton 7-5, having trailed 5-2.
Thornton again reached the quarter-finals of the World Championship in 2008 before ending his time in the BDO with victory at the Dutch Open.
The Scotsman joined the PDC in 2008 when he was top of the BDO rankings. He surged into the top 32 within just eight months and made his first PDC major final in the 2009 Players Championship, where Taylor denied him victory.
After a couple of years in the darting doldrums due to illness and injury, Thornton arrived at Bolton’s Reebok Stadium in June 2012 as a 250-1 outsider for the title but went on a remarkable run, beating Mark Webster, Gary Anderson, Dennis Priestley, Wez Newton and Dave Chisnall en route to his second PDC major final.
He went on to record an impressive 11-5 victory over ‘The Power’ to lift the trophy and claim the £40,000 prize money.
He set up a repeat of that final at the Grand Slam of Darts a year later but this time was defeated by Taylor.
However, Thornton did end the year by moving into the top ten on the PDC Order of Merit.
‘The Thorn’ is one of only three players to have won both events of a PDC Pro-Tour weekend.
Thornton’s success led to him being selected for the Premier League in 2013 and 2014.