Luke Humphries admits he is living his darting dream ahead of his bet365 US Darts Masters debut at Madison Square Garden this weekend.
Humphries is one of eight PDC superstars set to headline the action at the Theater from June 2-3, as the World Series returns to New York following the success of last year’s showpiece.
The 28-year-old will be joined in the Big Apple by the likes of reigning champion Michael Smith and newly crowned Premier League champion Michael van Gerwen, as the sport’s biggest names battle it out for the £20,000 top prize.
Humphries made his World Series of Darts bow with appearances in Bahrain and Copenhagen back in January, and he is relishing the latest opportunity to showcase his credentials on the global stage.
“It’s a privilege to be here and be part of these massive events,” said the former World Youth Champion, who will face one of eight North American representatives in Friday’s last 16.
“This is an absolutely iconic venue and to get to come over here and play the sport that I’ve always loved – it’s quite incredible and I’m really excited to be here.
“These are great events to be a part of because they’re not just about the darts, we’re trying to grow the sport as a whole in different parts of the world.
“I’ve been to some amazing places from just playing darts but I’ve never been to New York before, so it’s great to be here.
“This is quite an achievement for the sport as a whole and it just shows how much we’re growing.”
🗣️ "It's a big achievement for the sport as a whole!"— PDC Darts (@OfficialPDC) May 30, 2023
We spoke to Luke Humphries ahead of his US Darts Masters debut at the iconic Madison Square Garden!
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Humphries arrives in New York after suffering a chastening defeat to Rob Cross in Sunday’s European Darts Grand Prix final, curtailing his hopes of a World Cup of Darts debut next month.
The former UK Open runner-up would have sealed a World Cup spot at Cross’ expense with victory in Sindelfingen, but it was the 2021 World Champion who ran out an 8-6 winner in a high-quality decider.
Despite featuring in four European Tour finals this year, the Newbury ace is yet to add to his title tally in 2023, although he believes it’s only a matter of time before he returns to winning ways.
“I think my game is probably in the best shape it has ever been in,” insisted Humphries, who produced a career-best average of 119.15 on the ProTour in February.
“Last year I won five titles, this year I haven’t won any yet, but I personally think I am playing better than I was last year.
“My game is in a good place and I think I’m building up to a title that is going to come very soon.
“[Missing out on the World Cup] really hurt, but what better way to cheer myself up than by winning this weekend, because I know that title is definitely coming.”
Humphries has made significant strides in his fledgling career over the last 18 months, breaking into the world’s top six while scooping five ranking titles in the process.
He has also established himself as a contender for the sport’s biggest prizes, reaching back-to-back televised semi-finals at the Grand Slam of Darts and Players Championship Finals in November.
However, Humphries is yet to feature in a televised final since losing to James Wade in the 2021 UK Open, a statistic he is hoping to rectify at Madison Square Garden.
“It is probably the next step in my career that I need to take,” added the three-time World Championship quarter-finalist.
“Obviously this is not a ranked event, but it would still topple anything I’ve won so far.
“To do to it in such an iconic venue and in such an important event for me as a player, it would be quite special.
“As much as I’m here to enjoy the moment and have fun, my eyes are set on winning this title, because it would mean the world to me.”
Tickets are available now through ticketmaster.com.
Friday June 2 (1900 local time)
bet365 US Darts Masters
Saturday June 3
Afternoon Session (1300 local time)
bet365 North American Championship
Evening Session (1900 local time)
bet365 US Darts Masters