The draw has been made the 2016 PDC World Championships, and it has thrown up some fascinating first round matches.
World No.1 Michael van Gerwen will face either Thanawat Gaweenuntawong of Thailand or Rene Eidams of Germany. Dutchman van Gerwen won the title in 2014, and having been in ominous form this season, finds himself the favourite for the tournament. Last year’s winner Gary Anderson will face either a qualifier or Denmark’s Per Laursen. Anderson has a strong record in the competition and will fancy his chances of holding onto his title.
The most successful darts player of all-time Phil Taylor will play either Keita Ono of Japan or Alex Taragao of the Philippines. Taylor has not been at his best this season but has won his tournament 14 times, his last success coming in 2013. Another former champion, Raymond van Barneveld, will appear in an all Dutch encounter with Dirk van Duijvenbode.
Adrian Lewis won the trophy in 2011 and 2012, faces Jan Dekker, while Australian Simon Whitlock will face a qualifier. Well-known for his eccentric hairstyle, Peter Wright of Scotland will face Englishman Keegan Brown. Stephen Bunting, a fan’s favourite due to his humorous walk-on, will be up against Jyhan Artut.
James Wade has not been the force he once was in recent years, but he will be hoping to progress when he meets either Warrick Scheffer or John Michael. Jamie Caven will be up against either Michael Rasztovits of Austria or New Zealander Rob Szabo. Terry Jenkins will face Darin Young, the only American to reach the first round of the competition.
The matches will be played between the 17th and 23rd December at London’s Alexandra Palace. The tournament is one of the biggest events of the darts calendar and the winner of this year’s tournament will walk away with a prize of £300,000.