'He does special things every week' - Littler's rise continues

Luke Littler poses with the Premier League trophy
Luke Littler has won £315,000 in the Premier League season to double his career prize money [Getty Images]

In Wednesday's pre-2024 Premier League Darts final media conference Luke Littler refused to touch the trophy, as has become superstition.

Little over 24 hours later, the 17-year-old was parading it in front of 14,000 people inside the O2 Arena in London after beating Luke Humphries 11-7 in the final.

"It's so good to win in front of my family, my girlfriend and my manager. I don't know what to do," Littler told Sky Sports minutes after claiming the trophy.

"I'm just enjoying it. I've been practising really hard and you can probably see it on the oche. I was dead focused, I didn't want to blink.

"I'm a major winner, I can put myself in that hat now. I can't wait to play in all the events. I've done so well on the Euro Tour and Pro Tour that I'm guaranteed to be in the Matchplay and Grand Prix."

Littler's rise to stardom and popularity has not just been because of how much he has achieved at the age of 17, it is the way he has gone about doing it.

His desire to win and entertain while doing so married up in leg 11. Returning from a break at 5-5, Littler threw his fourth nine-darter of 2024 to take control of the match.

He roared, the crowd roared back and opponent Humphries' response was one of class - a high five and a smile of appreciation for this darting prodigy.

Littler used the popularity to heighten his celebrations. After running off the stage to celebrate his win with his family, Littler raised his title in front of the crowd multiple times to a chorus of cheers - while the tears on his face were still drying.

For Littler, he was able to prove doubters wrong, with many questioning whether he should have even been in this year's Premier League just weeks after his shock run to the World Championship final on debut over Christmas.

"One thing I just want to say - to all the doubters, hello. I've just picked up this [trophy]. You're not doubting me any more," Littler said after toppling Humphries, the same man who stopped him from becoming world champion back in January.

Asked if he could dominate like 16-time world championship winner Phil Taylor, he said: "I could do, but I'm just enjoying it."

Already, two of 2024's biggest darting finals have been played out by Littler and Humphries and perhaps, with the two running away at the top of this year's Premier League table, it is a sign of what is to come in the immediate future of darts.

"I think me and Luke are the two greatest players in the world at the moment and this was another great battle," said Humphries.

"If you look at the season as a whole, he deserved to be Premier League champion.

"I'm proud of Luke, everyone knows what I think of him, I love him to bits, he's a great lad. I hope he enjoys himself and he deserves this moment."

Littler becomes the eighth player in Premier League history to lift the trophy, but is the youngest so far.

"Luke Littler has already done more than 99% of players do in a 20-year career. He's just that good," added former World Championship semi-finalist Wayne Mardle on Sky Sports.

"He does special things every week.

"It is insane what he's doing on the dart board."

The teenage sensation is showing no signs of slowing down, a frightening prospect for those trying to stop him from one day becoming one of the sport's all-time greats.

Timeline - Luke Littler’s rise

3 March, 2023: Made senior debut at 2023 UK Open, reaching the round of 64, earning a PDC merit ranking

26 November, 2023: Won the PDC World Youth Darts Championship final

17 December, 2023: Retained JDC World Darts Championship

20 December, 2023: Wins on senior World Championship debut, beating Dutchman Christian Kist, averaging 106.12

3 January, 2024: Beats former champions Raymond van Barneveld and Rob Cross on his way to reaching the World Championship final, where he lost 7-4 to Luke Humphries in final

4 January, 2024: Named in Premier League line-up, one of four PDC-chosen wildcards.

19 January, 2024: Hits first televised nine-darter during World Series darts debut against Nathan Aspinall

19 January, 2024: Beats Michael van Gerwen to win Bahrain Darts Masters and earn his first PDC senior title

5 February, 2024: Won his Premier League darts debut match against Luke Humphries in Cardiff

12 February, 2024: Hits a nine-darter against Michele Turetta and beats Ryan Searle to win PDC Players Championship final on debut

20 March, 2024: Wins Belgian Darts Open, beating Rob Cross in the final, hitting his third nine-darter of the year.

18 April, 2024: Won first Premier League Darts night in Belfast, beating Aspinall 6-4 in the final. Later went on to win in Manchester, Liverpool and Aberdeen.

28 April, 2024: Wins the Austrian Darts Open

16 May, 2024: Ended the 2024 Premier League regular season with a record-equalling 40 points to top table

23 May, 2024: Wins the Premier League Darts title with a 11-7 win over Luke Humphries for his first major PDC title

What next for Littler?

His next event will be the US Darts Masters from 31 May.

The next major event is the World Matchplay from 13 July in Blackpool, before the World Grand Prix in October and Grand Slam of Darts in November.

He will continue to play in Players Championships, European Tour and World Series events throughout the year too.

Littler will then compete in the World Championships again, which take place in late December and into the start of 2025.