As the PDC gets ready to stage their first ranking events since the Coronavirus pandemic next week, here’s a look at how the race to qualify for the 2020 World Matchplay is shaping up…
Almost four months have passed since Ian White’s victory in Players Championship 8, back on March 15, the last ranking event held by the PDC. From July 8, the Summer Series will be held in Milton Keynes, consisting of five Players Championship events.
An update from the PDC before the weekend revealed that the player who pockets the most prize money across the five events will earn a spot at the Grand Slam of Darts, but also that these quintet of tournaments will be ranked.
These events will also be the last chance for players to move into the qualifying spots for the World Matchplay, due to be held on July 18-26, although its usual location of the Winter Gardens, in Blackpool, is yet to be confirmed.
All prize money that was due to drop off between March 15 and now has been removed from the Order of Merits, and it has resulted in a few changes to the provisional 32-player line up for the World Matchplay.
PDC Order of Merit (top 16 qualify)
|1||Michael van Gerwen||£1,505,750|
|21||Jeffrey De Zwaan||£210,750|
|26||Dimitri Van den Bergh||£183,750|
Home Tour champion Nathan Aspinall has climbed up one place on the overall Order of Merit, to a career-high of number six, with Daryl Gurney dropping one place to seventh.
Gary Anderson, who will be defending the prize money he won for winning the 2018 World Matchplay next month, has switched places with James Wade from ninth to eighth, while Dave Chisnall has risen back into the top 10, as Ian White has slipped to 11th.
There are two new entrants into the PDC’s top 16, as Krzysztof Ratajski and Glen Durrant both make their debuts, in 15th and 16th respectively. Joe Cullen and Jonny Clayton are the two players who have dropped out of the top 16, but are both well placed to still qualify for the World Matchplay via the ProTour Order of Merit.
ProTour Order of Merit (Top 16 players not already qualified via the Order of Merit qualify)
|4||Jose De Sousa||£30,500|
|6||Jeffrey De Zwaan||£24,500|
|12||Dimitri Van den Bergh||£22,000|
|14||Vincent van der Voort||£21,250|
|28||Dirk van Duijvenbode||£13,000|
Here’s where things start to get interesting. The next top 16 players on the ProTour Order of Merit will join the top 16 on the overall Order of Merit, and as things stand four players are in line to make their World Matchplay debuts.
Jose De Sousa, Gabriel Clemens, Dimitri Van den Bergh and Ryan Searle are the quartet all currently in qualifying positions. Meanwhile, Brendan Dolan looks in a strong position to qualify for the first time since 2016, along with Justin Pipe (2017) and Kim Huybrechts (2018) in being the only current changes from the 2019 line up. Huybrechts has a narrow £250 lead over Steve West for the 16th and final spot available.
Stephen Bunting, the world number 17, is the highest-ranked player set to miss out. He trails Durrant by £14,250 for 16th spot on the Order of Merit, while he is £3,250 adrift on the ProTour Order of Merit.
Steve Beaton is on course for his 20th consecutive World Matchplay appearance, but Mervyn King, who has made the field for the last 13 years, has work to do.
With five Players Championship events being played next week, before the cut off, each offering £10,000 to the winner, expect to see positions swap hands a few more times as the race to the World Matchplay reaches its conclusion.
Picture: Chris Dean/PDC