PDC World Darts Championship 2020

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The 27th edition of the PDC World Darts Championship will take place at Alexandra Palace in London from the 13th December 2019 to the 1st January 2020.
Things have come a long way since the first ever PDC event held at Purfleet back in 1994, with a £2.5 million (c. €2.93m) prize pool now split among the players, compared to the mere total of £64,000 (c. €75,000) which was originally up for grabs.
The biggest news coming into the tournament is that it will be the last ever professional tournament for Dutch legend and 2007 winner, Raymond van Barneveld, with the 52-year-old set to retire after this event.
Of course, ‘Barney’ had originally stated his plan to retire after crashing out of the first phase of Premier League darts back in March but reversed his decision a day later. Hopefully he’ll have a more fitting ending at the prestigious PDC World Darts Championship.
It promises to be an exhilarating event, which is just the kind of excitement we like at Mr Green.

Tournament Info


The 2020 World Darts Championship will feature 96 players, with nine rounds of fixtures taking place in a straight knockout format.

Schedule + Format

The competition will start with 64 players in the first round, made up of 32 players from the Pro Tour Order of Merit and 32 International Qualifiers (including two female players). The 32 winners from this round will then face the 32 seeded players from the Order of Merit (such as Michael van Gerwen) for another round of 64 players. 28 nations will be represented in the 2020 competition.
The first two rounds of the competition will be played over a best of five sets, with a best of seven sets being played in the third and fourth rounds, followed by nine sets for the quarter finals, 11 sets for the semis, while the final will be fought out over 13 sets.
The round dates of the tournament are as follows:

· First Round: 13-19 December 2019
· Second Round: 13-21 December 2019
· Third Round: 22-27 December 2019
· Fourth Round: 27-28 December 2019
· Quarter-Final: 29 December 2019
· Semi-Final: 30 December 2019
· Final: 1 January 2020

There will be a total of 11 Dutch players taking part in the competition, with a potential all-Dutch second round ties awaiting should Jelle Klaasen beat Kevin Burness in the first round (where he’ll then face number one ranked Michael van Gerwen), while Raymond van Barneveld will meet number 23 seed, Jeffrey de Zwaan, if he first beats America’s Darin Young. If the competition was without upsets (which of course it won’t be), van Barneveld would likely meet Dave Chisnall in the third round, Peter Wright in the fourth round, and Rob Cross in the quarter finals if he wants to go far in his final professional tournament.


Players have qualified for the PDC Darts World Championship in various ways. 32 seeded players (based on the Order of Merit) enter at the second round stage, while the first round is competed by Pro Tour Order of Merit ranked players, as well as multiplier international qualifiers form around the world, coming in the form of individual national or regional competitions, as well as qualifying competitions.
As was the case in 2019, two women also qualified for the competition, which this year’s entrants being UK & Ireland Women’s Qualifier winner, Fallon Sherrock, and Japan’s Mikuru Suzuki who was the Rest of the World Women’s Qualifier. Prior to 2019, the only female players to enter the competition came following wildcard invitations to Gayl King in 2001 and Anastasia Dobrovmyslova in 2009. No female player has yet to win a match at the Darts World Championship, but Sherrock and Suzuki will be eager to break the duck.

Darts World Championship History

While the PDC World Darts Championship was founded in 1994 (then known as the WDC World Darts Championship), its early history was tumultuous following the infamous split in darts. Nowadays, though, it is recognised as the biggest knockout darts competition in the world.

Pre-PDC Era

The first Darts World Championship, organised by the BDO (British Darts Organisation) took place in 1978 and ran as the main World Championship event for darts until 1993 – when a long-running dispute let to a split between the BDO and the WDC (subsequently PDC) over the way the sport was being run and promoted.
Eric Bristow was the original star of the championships, winning five titles, before being defeated in the final by his protégée, Phil Taylor in 1990. The BDO Darts World Championships continue to this day, starting a few days after the PDC event finishes, but with little fan fare.
The split between the BDO and WDC was fired by player discontent regarding the decline in television coverage of the start during 1989 and the early 1990s, with players uniting in their belief that the BDO was unable to reverse this decline. This led the world’s top 16 ranked players all breaking away from the BDO to start their own organisation, originally known as the World Darts Championship.
Although a legal battle went on for several years and the WDC renaming to the Professional Darts Corporation as part of the dispute, the new body undoubtedly legitimised their move, with PDC events now enjoying increasing mainstream popularity, with more events, massive prize pools, more sponsorships and bigger venues than even now selling-out darts events.


The BDO World Darts Championship was the original primary “world championship” for darts, but following the split in organisations between the BDO and the WDC (World Darts Council), the first new championship – then known as the WDC World Darts Championship – took place in 1994.
Following a long legal battle, the WDC was renamed the PDC (Professional Darts Corporation) in 1997, with the championship also following the naming convention. Despite the BDO continuing to host their own World Championships, the PDC’s competition rapidly caught up with the BDO in the early years and overtook the BDO in terms of the total prize pool on offer in 2002. The PDC tournament now dwarves the BDO competition, with the top player in the PDC winning £500,000, while the BDO winner only picks up £100,000.
Until 2007, the PDC World Darts Championship was held at the Circus Tavern in Purfleet (in Essex, England), but was then moved to the larger Alexandra Palace as the competition continued to grow in popularity and has been held there since.

Previous Winners

Although Dennis Priestley was the first winner of the competition back in 1994, it was the man he beat in the final, Phil Taylor, who go on to dominate the tournament – and darts in general – for the next two decades.
Indeed, after finishing as runner up in 1994, Phil “The Power” Taylor would go on to win the next nine consecutive tournaments, before being narrowly being beaten 7-6 in 2003 final by John Part. Taylor’s dominance recommenced thereafter, though, winning the next three PDC World Darts Championships, as well as a further three by 2013.
Ahead of the 2018 tournament, Phil Taylor announced his plan to retire from professional darts after the competition. He looked set for a fairy tale to finish too, after cruising his way to the final, where he was meeting fellow Englishman, Rob Cross, who had turned professional just 11 months earlier. However, Cross pulled off one of the biggest shocks of all-time, thumping Taylor 7-2 in sets to write his name into the history books.
While Michael van Gerwen took over Phil Taylor as the dominant force in darts around 2014, the Dutchman hasn’t enjoyed quite the same monopoly in the PDC World Darts Championship. Nevertheless, he’s still tasted success in 2014, 2018, plus in last year’s event, where he beat Michael Smith 7-3 in the final.
There will be a total of five previous PDC World Darts Championship winners at the 2020 tournament, with Michael van Gerwen (three), Gary Anderson (two), Adrian Lewis (two), Rob Cross and, of course, Raymond van Barneveld all bidding to lift the title again.

Records and Statistics


With 14 titles to his name and a further five final finishes, we’re a long time away – if ever – from anyone ever breaking Phil Taylor’s record for the most successes at the PDC World Darts Championship. But darts is very much a numbers game and there are lots of other records that being broken every few years at the competition.
The current number one, Michael van Gerwen, for example, is notorious for his consistently high averages – as he demonstrated in 2019. But in 2017, he smashed Phil Taylor’s previous best average at the competition (111.21) with a massive 114.05 average in his 6-2 win over compatriot, Raymond van Barneveld in the semifinal. What’s even more impressive is that in the very same game, Barney broke the record for the highest ever losing average, scoring 109.34 – the fourth-highest average that the competition has ever seen, but was still not enough to secure victory.
Michael van Gerwen was really on fire in 2017, though, as he also set the highest ever tournament average in the PDC World Darts Championships, with a huge 106.32 average as he went on to win the competition in style.
The Dutchman is also looking to build on another average record. Heading into the 2020 tournaments, he is on a roll of 19 PDC World Darts Championship matches in which he’s averaged 100 or more – an impressive record that dates back to 2016.
But nothing captivates a darts crowd like a nine-dart finish (i.e. throwing nine-perfect darts to win a leg). Surprisingly, Phil Taylor never managed to achieve such a feat during the tournament, but on the other hand, it’s only occurred nine times – the first of which occurred when van Barneveld captured the world’s attention when he achieved it during the 2009 quarter-final against Jelle Klaasen. He was also the second player to do so at the competition when he repeated the trick in the 2010 second round against Brendan Dolan. Other players to have also secured nine-dart finishes at the tournament are Adrian Lewis (twice), Dean Winstanley, Michael van Gerwen, Terry Jenkins, Kyle Anderson and Gary Anderson.

How the 2019 Competition Went

world championship dart

After a massive shock in 2018 which made mainstream news, the pecking order was restored in the 2019 PDC World Darts Championship, with Michael van Gerwen coming out on top. There were, however, a few shocks throughout the tournament with Barney crashing out in the second round to little-known Lithuanian, Darius Labanauskas.
There was also controversy as James Wade beat Seigo Asada in the second round, with the English player shouting in Asada’s face after winning in the second round and later admitting he wanted to “hurt” his opponent. Wade was then knocked out by debutant Ryan Joyce in the fourth round. And the second round shocks didn’t end there. In the fourth quarter section of the draw, the four highest seeds were all knocked out, with Peter Wright being beaten by Toni Alcinas, Devon Petersen beating Ian White, Gerwyn Price losing to Nathan Aspinall, and Joe Cullen defeated by Brendan Dolan.
In the semi-finals, Michael van Gerwen obliterated Gary Anderson by six sets to one, with Anderson narrowly avoiding a whitewash after winning a set with the score at 5-0 to van Gerwen. But it was the other semi-final in which the real thriller took place, with Michael Smith cruising to a two-set lead without dropping a set against Nathan Aspinall. However, Aspinall quickly stopped the rot to level the match at 2-2. Smith took the upper hand once again though, winning the match 6-3 in style, securing 17 180s – a record for Darts World Championship semi-final contest.
In the final, van Gerwen secured a comfortable 7-3 victory over Michael Smith, securing a solid average of 102.21 – meaning he averaged over 100 for every single round of the competition.

Players to Watch in 2020

While world number one, Michael van Gerwen, will undoubtedly be fancied by many people betting on the winner of PDC World Darts Championship – it’s certainly not a foregone conclusion. After all, there have been five different winners in the last five years and van Gerwen has yet to successfully defend the title.

world championship darts

Michael van Gerwen

After securing his first major title at the Grand Slam of Darts in 2018, Gerwyn Price built on his success in 2019 with two further major final appearances, as well as retaining the Grand Slam of Darts.
Remarkably, Price has never progressed beyond the third round of the Darts World Championship, but as number three seed this time out, you’d expect him to do significantly better.

Peter Wright

You’re never short of entertainment with the colourful Peter “Snakebite” Wright, but somehow the 49-year-old Scot still just has one major title to his name – the 2017 UK Open – despite being among the chasing pack for a decade.
Snakebite reached the final of 2014, losing 7-4 to van Gerwen, before reaching consecutive quarter-finals. However, he’s underperformed massively at the past two editions, exiting in the second round of each.
Peter Wright often falls at the last hurdle. Although he’s won just one major, he has finished as a runner-up no less than 10 times – with another two this year at the Champions League of Darts and the Grand Slam of Darts. Could this finally be his time to shine?

Rob Cross

After storming to the PDC World Darts Championship title just 11 months after turning professional in 2018, Rob Cross has stabilised his position since – showing that he didn’t just have beginner’s luck – with the 29-year-old English player now the number two ranked player in the world.
He added a further two majors to his collection in 2019, picking up the World Matchplay and European Championship titles, as well as reaching the finals of the UK Open and Premier League Darts.
Consistency is still somewhat lacking from his game though, having crashed out by the third round of five majors this year – including a surprise first-round defeat at the Masters.

Raymond van Barneveld

With retirement looming – and apparently for real this time – lots of darts fans will be hoping that Raymond van Barneveld can go out in a blaze of glory here.
The form guide doesn’t suggest that will be the case, unfortunately, though, with Barney’s results having dipped significantly in recent years, with the Dutch legend failing to even qualify for many majors this year, while his best finish was a quarter-final defeat at the hands of Chris Dobey at the Players Championship Finals.
His last big win came at the Premier League Darts back in 2014, but you’d hope that Barney will be more focussed than ever coming into this final tournament.
And let’s not forget, van Barneveld tasted success at the 2007 PDC Darts World Championship – becoming one of just four players to win both the PDC and BDO Darts World Championship titles.