Darts fans will get an early Christmas present today, when the 2016/17 William Hill PDC World Darts Championship action begins. Here’s a quick guide to the tournament and some of the players taking part.
The PDC World Darts Championship – What’s It All About?
Seventy-two of the world’s best darts players will be in action at London’s Alexandra Palace during December 2016 and January 2017, competing to become the PDC World Darts Champion. The winner of the event will become the latest holder of one of the most coveted darts trophies around, the Sid Waddell Trophy, and take home an impressive £350,000.
The tournament, which has a total prize fund of £1.65 million, will be shown live on Sky Sports’ dedicated darts channel, so you don’t need to be at the venue to watch the competition. The preliminary and opening round matches will start today (Thursday 15 December) and finish on the Thursday 22 December.
The second round will begin the following day, but the competitors will then take a break to celebrate the festive season, before completing the round’s ties on Tuesday 27 and Wednesday 28 December. Two of the third-round matches will take place on the second of those days, with the rest taking place on Thursday 29 December.
Friday 30 December is quarter-finals day and the last four competitors standing will then take a well-deserved day off before returning to the oche for the semi-finals on New Year’s Day. The final showdown is set to take place on Monday 2 January 2017, when the winner of the PDC World Darts Championship will be decided.
Players to Watch Out for at the 2016/17 PDC World Darts Championship
The reigning champion, Gary “The Flying Scotsman” Anderson, will be aiming to become the third player in history to secure three World Championship wins in a row when he opens his campaign tonight. Anderson, who beat Phil Taylor and Adrian Lewis in the 2015 and 2016 finals respectively, will take on Mark Frost in his first-round tie, as part of a programme which also includes Jamie Caven vs. Kevin Painter, Jamie Lewis vs. Mick McGowan, and Michael Smith vs. Ricky Evans.
Anderson will face some tough competition, however, in the form of Michael van Gerwen, who has won 25 tournaments in 2016 and, according to Sporting Life, is the bookies’ favourite to take the title. The Dutchman, who won his third consecutive Players Championship last month, is set to meet either Ross Snook or Kim Viljanen in the first round on Saturday 17 December.
Earlier this week, Gary Anderson stated that he’d love to meet van Gerwen in the final. “We both play fast and that suits me down to a tee. Michael knows this and I’m sure he doesn’t like that thought,” he told SportingLife.com.
“Up until the World Grand Prix final we’d beaten each other seven times each in our last 15 meetings with one draw. He won that so he’s now 8-7 up on me so I want to get level again. So if I could pick an opponent from that half to play for the title I would be MVG,” he added.
Other key contenders for the title include sixteen-time World Champion Phil Taylor, five-time World Champion Raymond van Barneveld, and two-time World Champion Adrian Lewis, as well as Peter Wright, James Wade and Mensur Suljovic.
Who do you think will win the 2016/17 PDC World Darts Championship? Will you be at Alexandra Palace or watching on TV? Let us know below.