Five times birthday boy Michael van Gerwen made darting history

To celebrate Michael van Gerwen's birthday, Planet Sport takes look at five times one of the best players to ever step on the oche shocked the darting world.

The Dutchman is only 32 years old yet his achievements have already earned him legendary status in the sport. 

MVG has won almost every tournament in darts and boasts three world titles to his name. However, certain moments and accomplishments stick out more than others.

Planet Sport has gone through his long list of successes and picked out five moments when Mighty Mike left fans picking up their jaws off the floor.

Youngest player to hit a televised nine-darter

England's Phil Taylor (right) watches Holland's Michael van Gerwen in action during the World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace, London.

Back in 2007 Van Gerwen gave darts fans a glimpse into the future when he took the Masters of Darts tournament by storm.

The 17-year-old showed no fear as he kicked off the tournament with a 3-0 thumping of then 13-time world champion Phil Taylor. With each set going down to a deciding leg, the Dutchman showed incredible coolness as he produced 14, 12 and 12 dart legs to beat the greatest player of them all.

If that wasn't enough, Van Gerwen also produced 170 and 164 checkouts, as well as a 10-dart leg in the second set.

The Green Machine progressed to the semi-finals where he took on fellow countryman Raymond van Barneveld.

The more experienced RVB took a 3-1 lead in the race to six and appeared to be cruising. However, it was at this point when MVG made history and produced a nine-darter to become the youngest ever player - at 17 years and 298 days old - to achieve the feat on television.

Van Gerwen also became the first player to take an unconventional route to the nine-darter. Instead of starting the leg with a maximum, the teenager scored 174 before hitting a 180 and checking out the remaining 147 points.

Mighty Mike appeared to have changed the tide of the match as he won the next three sets to take a 4-3 lead. Van Barneveld eventually composed himself and won three successive sets to seal his place in the final.

Despite this, only one man was hitting the headlines on that day.

Youngest PDC World Championship winner

Michael Van Gerwen smiles as he holds the Sid Waddell trophy after winning the Final of The Ladbrokes World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace, London.

Van Gerwen's first five appearances at the PDC World Darts Championship were all relatively short lived as he faced a string of early eliminations.

It wasn't until 2013 when the Dutchman finally made his big breakthrough. With more experience under his belt, Van Gerwen went all the way to the final where he took on Phil 'The Power' Taylor.

The 23-year-old seemed on course for a shock victory after taking a 4-2 lead in the race to seven. Taylor, though, showed his class and won the next five sets to wrap up a 7-4 win.

Van Gerwen went on to have an incredible year on the PDC Tour, winning the Players Championship Finals as well as the Premier League.

Michael van Gerwen celebrates defeating James Wade during the Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace, London.

His successes meant that by the time the next World Championships came around, he was ranked second in the world.

The Dutchman lived up to the billing and once again reached the final - only this time he would take on Scotsman Peter Wright.

MVG started like a house on fire and took a 4-0 lead in a flash. Wright fought back but ultimately the gap proved too big as Mighty Mike won 7-4 to seal his first world title.

As well as becoming the second Dutchman to win the PDC's biggest prize, the 24-year-old also made history by being the youngest player to win the tournament. A record which is yet to be beaten.

Highest televised three-dart average

Michael Van Gerwen celebrates in his semi-final against Daryl Gurney during the Premier League Play-Offs at The O2, London.

The year 2016 was perhaps Van Gerwen's most dominant campaign of his career.

The Dutchman won all but one televised ranking event and backed that up by winning three more non-ranked televised tournaments.

One of those was the Premier League as Van Gerwen powered to the title without breaking a sweat.

Mighty Mike lost just one match throughout the 16-week season and dropped a mere 70 legs from 18 matches.

There were a number of breathaking performances on show from Van Gerwen during the event, but one game in particular has gone down in history.

During Night Four, which was held in Aberdeen, the Dutchman took on youngster Michael Smith.

Van Gerwen seemed unstoppable from the very first dart, and was even on a 136 average during his failed nine-dart attempt in the fifth leg.

The Green Machine took a 6-0 lead and still enjoyed an average of over 130 as he looked to close out the match. However, three missed darts at double 18 allowed Michael Smith to steal a leg and avoid a complete whitewash.

Despite this, MVG eventually got the job done in the next leg and broke the world record for the highest televised three-dart average, producing an incredible 123.4.

Highest average at the PDC World Championship

Michael Van Gerwen celebrates victory in the Premier League Play-Offs Final against Rob Cross during the Premier League Play-Offs at The O2, London.

Nine of the top 12 averages ever recorded in the history of televised darts have all come in the Premier League. That shouldn't come as a surprise considering the format is a straight race to seven legs - this year, it's six.

Producing a big average at the PDC World Darts Championship is a tougher challenge due to the long format of matches.

For Van Gerwen though, different formats don't appear to bother him having recorded the highest ever three-dart average at the World Championships.

His achievement came during the 2017 edition of the worlds. If that wasn't impressive enough, MVG pulled off his 114.05 average across eight sets in a 6-2 semi-final victory over five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld.

That match went on to break all sorts of other records including the highest losing average - set by RVB at 109.34 - and the highest ever combined average at 223.39.

One dart away from a double nine-darter

Michael Van Gerwen celebrates during his game against Jonny Clayton during the 2021 Unibet Premier League Play-Offs at the Marshall Arena, Milton Keynes.

Hitting nine perfect darts is a task that few have achieved in the history of the sport. Hitting one on the television is even more rare.

However, someone clearly forgot to tell that to Michael van Gerwen who almost produced back-to-back nine-darters during the 2013 World Darts Championship campaign.

The Dutchman was 3-1 up against James Wade in the tournament's semi-final when he produced his first perfect leg.

Before celebrations could finish, MVG already hit a 180 to start the following leg. The fans in attendance - and watching at home - began to dream.

As Wade looked helplessly on, Van Gerwen bagged another maximum to set himself up on a 141 finish.

As fans glued their eyes to the action, the Dutchman hit treble 20, hit treble 19, but missed double 12.

Despite coming within one dart of the greatest two minutes in the sport, his 17 perfect arrows will never be forgotten.

READ MORE: The five most fierce rivalries in darts, including Phil Taylor vs Raymond van Barneveld

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