US Darts Masters: Jim Long stuns world champion and No. 1 Michael Smith on opening night


Fans pack Madison Square Garden in wild costumes and TRAFFIC CONES as Jim Long stuns world champion and No. 1 Michael Smith on opening night of the US Darts Masters

  • Lung defied five 180s put up by Smith to book seal his spot in the quarterfinals 
  • The 55-year-old Canadian will take on 2017 champion Michael van Gerwen 
  • DailyMail.com provides all the latest international sports news 

Jim Long has stunned world No. 1 Michael Smith on the opening night of the 2023 bet365 US Darts Masters, dumping out the reigning champion on a memorable night at Madison Square Garden. 

The Canadian, 55, put on the best display of his 24-year career when he caused a huge upset in New York by defying five 180s from the 32-year-old to book his spot in Saturday’s quarterfinals. 

Jeff Smith, who’s also from Canada, progressed into the last eight of the tournament along with Long, his compatriot, after defeating Peter Wright. 

Long, however, got the crowd going at the Theater at MSG, landing three 180s and converting 97 and 115 checkouts to set up an intriguing clash against 2017 champion Michael van Gerwen, of the Netherlands.

‘I’m still taking it in. Michael is the cream of the crop. I’m ecstatic,’ said Long, a one-time World Cup of Darts quarterfinalist in 2019. 

Jim Long, of Canada, caused a major upset by defeated World No. 1 Michael Smith in New York

Jim Long, of Canada, caused a major upset by defeated World No. 1 Michael Smith in New York

Smith (L) and Long (R) shake hands after their matchup at bet365 US Darts Masters at MSG

Smith (L) and Long (R) shake hands after their matchup at bet365 US Darts Masters at MSG

Several fans were spotted wearing traffic cones on their heads while holding foam fingers

Several fans were spotted wearing traffic cones on their heads while holding foam fingers 

‘This is the biggest win of my career by far. I was so nervous. I had so many friends here tonight so it’s a very special night for me.’

Along with Long’s friends in the crowd emerged different sets of fans from all around the world and all dressed in different outfits.

Several supporters were spotted wearing cones on their heads while holding foam fingers made by bet365. Others held score signs while cheering on their favorite player. 

A minor group of fans, in particular, wore golden t-shirts displaying the words ‘average joe’s’ on them, as well as blue, white and red headbands and arm wrists while cheering on American players. 

US fans wearing golden t-shirts displaying the words 'average joe's' on them were also spotted

US fans wearing golden t-shirts displaying the words ‘average joe’s’ on them were also spotted

LOST MUCH?: Some American fans seemingly mixed up the dates of the NHL Finals with darts

LOST MUCH?: Some American fans seemingly mixed up the dates of the NHL Finals with darts 

A lot of fans at Madison Square Garden showed off score signs at every opportunity they could

A lot of fans at Madison Square Garden showed off score signs at every opportunity they could

There were also three dart enthusiasts wearing USA hockey jersey who seemingly mixed up the day of the first game of the NHL Finals and the first day of the US Darts Masters. 

The US Darts Masters will concur on Saturday evening, with the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final taking place all in one sitting at the Theater. 

The bet365 North American Championship will also start on Saturday, with eight US and Canadian stars battling for the $25,000 in prize money and a spot in the 2023/24 World Darts Championship.

The winner of the US Darts Masters will take home $74,700, according to Planet Sport. Coverage of the tournament is provided by DAZN in the US and Canada.  



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