John Henderson is aiming to beat the Beast From The East to be the Coral UK Open Force From The North.
Highlander is preparing to change his travel plans to leave early from Huntly to get to the first major of 2018 in Minehead on Friday as heavy snow hits the south.
Hendo certainly wasn’t flakey towards the end of last year, racking up some wonderful wins over Michael van Gerwen, Raymond van Barneveld and Daryl Gurney in the Grand Prix and Worlds.
It’s a far cry from being in the depths of despair 12 months ago. He said: “It’s incredible really. I was ready to quit this time a year ago.
“I’d thrown away a decent lead in the World Championships against Andrew Gilding and I was devastated. I said to the missus that was it, I was finished.
“Thankfully we went straight on holiday to America and it cleared my head a bit and I came back a different man with a more determined attitude.
“It turned out that 2018 was the best year of my career. I had that great Grand Prix run to the semi-finals in Dublin and I was buzzing after that.
“Then I finally came through my Alexandra Palace hoodoo in the Worlds and had a good run beating Daryl.
“Sadly I missed darts to make it two-sets-all against Rob Cross. He went 3-1 up, then won 4-1 on the way to winning it. But you could say I let him off the hook to win the title. I’m joking, but it’s no bad to go out to the eventual winner.
“I’m getting a reputation of being the lucky guy to beat along the way to winning major titles. Daryl and Rob defeated me on the way to the Grand Prix and Worlds!”
Big Hendo, 44, has now got his sights set on bursting into the top 16 in the rankings after a few years in the oche wilderness - and hoping for a decent UK Open draw.
He added: “The UK Open is like the Scottish or FA Cup. You have to wait for the draw and it could be anyone. Obviously everyone will be hoping to avoid Michael!
“That is made at 4pm and you don’t know whether you’ll be playing at 7pm or 11pm, so it can be a hard day. That’s just something all players have to deal with.
“However, I’ve had a really decent start to the year, I finished 14th in the UK Open qualifiers which means I start in the third round, and straight into the money.
“I also got a couple of thousand in the recent Players Championships, I’m plodding along picking up money but I need to get in that top 16.
“You simply can’t afford to stand still in the PDC, other players soon overtake you. So I need to get into the 16 this year because I’m not defending money from two years ago. I can make big progress I believe.
“In 2019 I’ll be defending the Grand Prix and Worlds runs I had so I need to keep getting results consistently. That’s the high demands of the PDC, but that’s a really good thing.”
By Phil Lanning (@lannomedia)