I had been recently working on a feature piece for a soon to be relaunched publishing icon. A few days ago I drafted my initial section on Tommy Cox. With today’s dreadful news of Tommy’s untimely death, it seems appropriate to let it stand alone:
Tommy Cox & The WDC/PDC: It is quite possible that without Tommy Cox, and those who formed the WDC, darts would have returned to the pubs and clubs and never again reached the heights we see today. Cox and other founding members were determined to give the best players more TV events, bigger prizes and improve the game. Darts had endured tough times. Due to the outbreak of political correctness with TV/advertising companies wrongly believing the game was out of date and not marketable. The BDO & Olly Croft were happy with a couple of big TV events and did not believe that they ” owed the players a living”. Tommy disagreed.
For the full horrid fallout see Blood on the Carpet (The split in darts) on YouTube –Here
Cox and the players fought the BDO at every turn, ending up the high court. Tommy used his own money, and remortgaged his own house, to ensure the WDC survived. Once the WDC progressed and was stable, Sky TV and Barry Hearn stepped in to take things toward the level we see now. Worldwide PDC darts, hugely successful in Europe and gaining ground in every corner of the globe is the end result. Tommy’s desire that there were enough opportunities for players to thrive and the game to progress seems to have been met in spades. Tommy then spent many years as PDC tournament director. This made sure the events were superbly staged and ran like clockwork.
Thus the professional game was truly born and Tommy Cox was its midwife!
On a personal level, I met Tommy on many occasions, we even had the odd run-in, but, once he worked out that I truly had player’s interest at heart, was hugely helpful and supportive. I admired the way he operated and respected the events he helped make, for players and fans alike, some of the best in the world.
Thank you, Tommy, may you Rest in Peace.