Who will win the final? Who will be the player to watch? Which seeds are most in danger of going out in their first game? A host of darts journalists, pundits and commentators tackle these and other questions ahead of the 2023 PDC World Championship.
Who will reach the final – and who will win it?
Mark Webster: My pick to win is MVG against Michael Smith in the final.
Rod Studd: It has the look of a very open championship but I’d say MVG is the rightful favourite based on what we’ve seen in 2022. So MVG to reach the final for me and face Michael Smith and I’ll take a chance that Bully Boy can avenge his defeat in the 2019 final.
Dan Dawson: It’s wide open, but I think it’s about time Gerwyn Price reminded everyone how good he is. I think he’ll win it, but as for whom he beats in the final… I’m going to go for Rob Cross.
Laura Turner: MVG v Smith, with MVG to win.
Stuart Pyke: Van Gerwen v M Smith. Smith to win it! His time is here! Famous last words.
Chris Murphy: I think the final will be a meeting of Michaels, with Van Gerwen beating Smith.
Ian Danter (talkSPORT): MVG looks mean, moody and magnificent based on the Players Championship Finals, peaking just at the right time. He may not have quite the air of invincibility we thought he might adopt post-Taylor but you’d be daft to back against him in this form. I think Michael Smith is the man MVG will come up against in the final and he will run the Green Machine closer than he has in previous finals here but still the Ally Pally bridesmaid it seems.
Christopher Kempf (Ochepedia): Luke Humphries and Michael van Gerwen will reach the final, and MVG will win.
Phil Haigh (Metro): I fancy a Michael Smith v Michael van Gerwen final in a repeat of 2019. It will be a closer final, but the same winner – MVG.
Josh Green (Tungsten Tales): It’s not an original opinion, but I think it will be a Gerwyn Price vs Michael van Gerwen final on January 3. The Welshman’s stumbling block will come in the form of a rejuvenated RVB, but over four sets I give him the edge on this occasion. ‘The Green Machine’ is likely to have a slightly tougher route to the final, but like many others, I do back him to win a fourth World Championship.
Chris Hammer (Sporting Life): I believe Michael Smith will reach the final from the top half of the draw, especially now he heads to the Ally Pally with a major title in the bag. Even without it, Smith had enjoyed a brilliant year, winning five other titles and reach three major finals if you include the Worlds back in January. His confidence and belief will be at an all-time high plus he obviously has a great record at the Ally Pally having reached the final twice before. In the bottom half it will probably be Michael van Gerwen. He’s won 10 titles this year – four more than anyone else – and is back to major-winning prowess having bagged four of those. His seasonal average of 98.43 is higher than anyone else so it’ll take a stunning performance to stop him. Smith is capable of doing that and applying serious pressure on MVG if they were to meet, so I’m going with Bully Boy.
Kevin Barth (dartn.de): Michael Smith and Michael van Gerwen will reach the final. Both have shown their quality throughout the year and they will do that again on the Ally Pally stage. I think Michael Smith now is ready to win his first title.
Jack Garwood (Online Darts): I’m going for a Michael Smith vs Michael van Gerwen final. Bully Boy has had a great year, and getting that monkey off his back with a first TV ranking title is surely going to be pivotal for him. MVG has an air of inevitability about him once again, and it feels like we’re back to the old issue. If you don’t stop him early, you won’t stop him at all. Unfortunately for Smith fans though, I think this one returns to the Netherlands and Van Gerwen wins his fourth.
Andrew Sinclair (Inside The WDF): The consensus school of thought about this year’s World Championships seems to be whether it’ll end with Michael van Gerwen claiming his fourth world title or whether Michael Smith finally getting the TV major monkey off his back at the Grand Slam will allow him to claim a first title after two previous final defeats. Those two have won more money than anyone else in the PDC this year and they’re probably the two best players in the world right now so it makes sense. My gut instinct says that MVG wins but I’ll go rogue here and pick something a little different.
My pick for the final is Gerwyn Price vs Rob Cross. Price has thrown four televised nine-darters this year and he’s shown that he’s capable of producing very special things on that Ally Pally stage. Cross, meanwhile, has been bubbling away this year and appears to be getting somewhere close to his best. I think ‘Voltage’ knocks off MVG and Peter Wright to make the final but ultimately falls short against Price, who backs up previous wins over Danny Noppert and Michael Smith to claim his second world title.
Dylan Williams (Darts Cymru): I won’t lie, I found predicting anything in relation to this year’s Championship very difficult. It’s the most open Worlds in years in my opinion with at least 6-8 potential winners. MVG must come in as the favourite given his performances in majors in 2022, but I can’t see him lifting the big one, although he will get to the final on January 3. I’m predicting his opponent will be Gerwyn Price who will be crowned the champion for the second time in his career.
Lendel Faria (FDI): I think Gerwyn Price will win the top half and Michael van Gerwen will win the bottom half. And I think MVG will win his long overdue fourth World Championship of his career.
Jetze Jan Idsardi (Darts Actueel): THE two players of the last six months: Michael van Gerwen and Michael Smith. When they are fully focussed, both can hardly be beaten. Gerwyn Price and Peter Wright will try to prevent it from happening, but I am already excited for a potential rematch of the 2019 final. And just like in that final, I predict van Gerwen to win it.
Carl Fletcher (Darts Tracker): There’s a plethora of potential winners but I like the look of a Michael Smith vs Michael Van Gerwen final, a repeat from the 2019 edition. MVG has picked up the most TV majors this year and I can see him adding this to his title haul. Whilst not at peak MVG level it’s as good as I’ve seen him consistently. He’s the one to beat for me but Bully Boy will buoyed by his Grand Slam success and can go close here, pushing MVG all the way.
Pim Huberts (Darts Actueel): Michael van Gerwen has fully convinced me again after his phenomenal performance at the Players Championship Finals: he will be the world champion. Michael Smith will lose another World Championship final.
Who will be the player to watch?
Mark Webster: My player to watch is Josh Rock. I think Mike De Decker could do OK as well.
Rod Studd: The two young sensations Beau Greaves and Josh Rock.
Dan Dawson: I think we’ll get a succession of brilliant games in the second quarter of the draw; there are so many amazing and quite evenly matched players in there. I want to see Heta shake off his TV malaise, Michael Smith and Humphries look brilliant, but I think Chizz might be one to keep an eye on.
Laura Turner: Looking forward to seeing how Josh Rock and Beau Greaves both get on.
Stuart Pyke: My player to watch must be Luke Humphries. Certainly worth a cheeky each way flutter. He lives up to his cool nickname on stage and loves the Ally Pally.
Chris Murphy: I’m very excited to see how Beau Greaves fairs, but having had a good look at Raymond Smith’s game at the MODUS Super Series I really don’t think last year’s last 16 run was a one off. He could repeat it. He could even better it. Keep an eye on The Guru.
Ian Danter: Josh Rock has to be the player to watch – if he can negotiate tricky customer José Justicia in round one he could give Callan Rydz one hell of a game in round two and Callan therefore is one of the seeds whose concentration over the shorter format in early rounds has got to be 100 per cent or he may suffer at the hands of this prodigy.
Christopher Kempf: The player to watch is Josh Rock – we have not seen such an impressive pro debut for a young player since MVG, 16 years ago.
Phil Haigh: Danny Jansen could rustle up some new fans on his World Championship debut. I’m not sure how far he can go, he’ll probably win one match at least, but that will be enough to show off his magnificent mullet and catch the eye.
Josh Green: Keane Barry is the one to watch for me. His second-round contest with Jonny Clayton at last year’s tournament often goes unnoticed. But with a major semi-final and another year’s experience under his belt I think he can go far and maybe even a win over the reigning world champion!
Chris Hammer: Most will probably say Josh Rock but I reckon it could be Ryan Searle making some surprising headlines in the top quarter of the draw. He was dubbed the ‘future of darts’ by Peter Wright 12 months ago but he’s gone slightly off the radar since winning a title back in April but his performance levels are back on the up and he was involved in one of the matches of 2022 against Dirk van Duijvenbode at the Players Championship Finals. I think he can beat Gerwyn Price and go on to reach the semi-finals.
Kevin Barth: Was that question ever that easy? It has to be Josh Rock. I can’t see him struggling and although he has a tough draw he can reach the quarter finals. I also think that Rowby-John Rodriguez could get deep if he can defeat Dimitri.
Jack Garwood: Luke Humphries is the one this time around. He looks to be over the mid season blip following a fantastic Euro Tour campaign, and he loves a TV event. Ridiculously capable and makes the game look so easy at times.
Andrew Sinclair: Every man and his dog will say Josh Rock and with good reason. I thought he was special when I saw him at the 2021 Irish Open but his impact in the PDC has been well beyond my expectations. I’ll take the opportunity to mention someone else though and that’s a man I tipped to do well last year – Australia’s Raymond Smith. You’ll struggle to meet a more focused and dialled-in player than Raymond and although he’s got a tough section with Karel Sedlacek and then Dirk van Duijvenbode, he’s capable of big things.
Dylan Williams: The obvious ones to watch will be Josh Rock and Beau Greaves – and I personally can’t wait to see the latter take to the stage. I just hope she won’t be overwhelmed by the occasion – the world will be watching! If we’re looking for a bolter, I’m expecting (and hoping) for an improved performance from Jim Williams. Since winning his maiden PDC title in March he has hugely underachieved. He has the game and the know-how to rival and beat the best.
Lendel Faria: For me it has to be Beau Greaves. I’m really curious to see how she will do against the best of the best in the world. In 2022 she has won more titles than she has lost matches in the ladies’ tournaments and a step up is always hard to make but I think it isn’t impossible. I believe she can reach the last 16 actually.
Jetze Jan Idsardi: The hype is getting bigger and bigger, and it’s definitely not unjustified: Josh Rock AND Beau Greaves are the biggest prospects in darts. Rock reminds me of Rob Cross in his debut year, while Greaves probably can’t even be compared to any player. If you can only watch one game, go watch Greaves in her debut.
Carl Fletcher: Ross Smith. Feels strange to say the European Champion is one to watch but I like what I’ve seen of him in recent months. Massive 180 hitter and may need that with Dirk potentially waiting in round three. In the same quarter as MVG but he beat him in the Grand Slam and he seems to have an abundance of confidence lately. If anyone can take advantage of an MVG slip up in that quarter I think it could be him, who would then go deep in the event himself.
Pim Huberts: Josh Rock is the darts revelation of this year, and he is just making his debut this year! A new example of the Rob Cross-effect might be coming. I also have high hopes for Andrew Gilding, and not just because of his large fanbase on Twitter. ‘Goldfinger’ is a dangerous opponent for everyone. Florian Hempel could be the surprise of this year as well.
How far will the defending champion Peter Wright go?
Rod Studd: It hasn’t been a great 12 months for Snakey since he won his second world title but I wouldn’t be completely shocked if he returned to form and had a real dig at winning a third crown. However I’m going to say he’ll depart at the quarter-final stage where Clayton or Aspinall could be his opponent.
Dan Dawson: I have no idea… I don’t know what kind of state he’s in, to be honest. I don’t think any of us so-called experts do. He may turn up and convince us he’s ready to equal MVG’s world title tally, but I can’t say with any confidence that he is. I’m not even sure he makes it to the quarter-finals.
Laura Turner: Peter has been a bit up and down the tail end of this year. I could see a fourth round clash with Dimitri, but it really does depend on which version of Peter turns up.
Chris Murphy: This is the toughest question as there is no recent evidence that he is in title winning form, but he is capable of playing himself into it. I think he has a favourable draw and expect him to make the quarter-finals, where he could be beaten by the likes of Aspinall, Rock or Clayton.
Christopher Kempf: Peter Wright will lose in the semi-final to MVG.
Phil Haigh: Quarter-finals.
Josh Green: It’s a tough call with Peter with everything going on in his personal life, which may play a part in this year’s World Championship. But as I’ve previously stated I think Keane Barry has a lot to offer and Wright is certainly vulnerable, especially in the earlier rounds.
Chris Hammer: Peter Wright is flying so far under the radar that he’s fourth favourite despite being the defending champion and world number two! He has ‘only’ won a couple of titles this year and none of them were majors but I think he’s been underestimated and can comfortably reach the semi-finals at the very least. He suffered with illness earlier in the year which affected his results while his mind wasn’t on the Grand Slam when his wife Jo fell ill. He’s in a much better place now she’s out of hospital and recovering well so expect that to have a positive impact on his performances.
Kevin Barth: Even if Peter Wright isn’t in his best form the draw is quite friendly to him. Many players who also don’t play at their best or haven’t been that far in a big tournament. I think the quarter-finals are possible and realistic, but not more.
Jack Garwood: I’m a bit concerned for Peter this year. We all know his pedigree, and he can turn it on the flick of a switch. But we haven’t seen as many quality moments from him in 2022 as we have in the last few years. We also know his wife Jo hasn’t been very well (best wishes and speedy recovery Jo!), and that could have an effect on Peter’s mentality this year. I think in the end Peter will fall in the third round.
Andrew Sinclair: First off, I hope Peter’s wife Jo is on the mend properly now and that Peter has got peace of mind on that front coming into the tournament. As noted above, I’ve got Snakebite getting all the way to the semis this year before falling short against a resurgent Rob Cross.
Dylan Williams: Quarter-finals. Jonny Clayton will send the defending champion packing in the last eight.
Lendel Faria: I think (very boring answer) that Peter Wright will lose against MVG in the semis. He has a very tough route to that round with him (most likely) facing Mansell, Barry, Van den Bergh and Aspinall but he has the quality to do so. But more importantly let’s just hope that Jo will be feeling a lot better very soon than she has been feeling in recent weeks.
Jetze Jan Idsardi: His preparation has been far from ideal, but Peter Wright is the master in finding form at the right moment. He has a lot of potential dangerous games on his way, but he should still make the quarter-finals. A potential clash with either Jonny Clayton, Nathan Aspinall or even Josh Rock might be one game too much.
Carl Fletcher: A lot going on for Peter recently and we will have to see how that affects him. No doubt he could rock up and be unstoppable but I think he’s likely to go out in the quarters to either Clayton, Aspinall or Rock depending how that mini section pans out. His potential third round clash with Kim Huybrechts could be a bit of a banana skin for him too.
Pim Huberts: Peter Wright has not been convincing at all after his World Championship win. I believe he loses in the last 16 in another ‘controversial’ clash against Dimitri van den Bergh.
Which first round match are you most looking forward to?
Mark Webster: The first round match I’m most looking forward to is Jermaine Wattimena v Nathan Rafferty.
Rod Studd: Great to see Richie Burnett back at the palace. His match against Adam Gawlas should be worth watching. Likewise Ricky Evans vs Fallon Sherrock.
Dan Dawson: Scott Williams v Ryan Joyce with the winner to face Cross stood out immediately to me. I think everyone is excited about Beau’s debut, although I fancy Willie O’Connor to win it. I believe Gilding and Robert Owen could be really high quality, but Gawlas v Burnett has the capacity to be mental… and I hope it delivers.
Laura Turner: Greaves v O’Connor – hoping she can take her floor game to the stage!
Stuart Pyke: Going to go for Gawlas v Burnett. It is an amazing tale to see Burnett back at the World Championship after all his trials and tribulations. Enigmatic and passionate and wears his heart on his sleeve. Love watching him play!
Chris Murphy: Rowby-John Rodriguez v Lourence Ilagan could be lots of fun. That game oozes character. As does Adam Gawlas v Richie Burnett. They are the kind of match-ups I love. Anything could happen.
Ian Danter: I’m looking forward to seeing how Beau Greaves fairs in her debut World Championship against Willie O’Connor. Willie may not have had an outstanding year, but just being back on THAT stage may raise his game – he’ll need it!
Christopher Kempf: Matt Campbell vs Danny Baggish – the most exciting match ever at a World Championship between two North American players… and the winner has a great chance to knock off Mervyn King.
Phil Haigh: O’Connor v Greaves. What a test for Beau, but what an opportunity to impress.
Josh Green: Steve Beaton vs Danny van Trijp could have some real pace to it, but I’ll say Scott Williams vs Ryan Joyce. The North East thrower has seen a return to form in the past couple of months and that makes him a very harsh draw for Williams, who himself, has had an excellent year. I’m not sure which way it will go, but I can see this one being a five-set thriller.
Chris Hammer: Definitely Beau Greaves v Willie O’Connor. I believe Beau can pull off a famous victory in what could be a very close game and send the crowd wild. The other match I’m really looking forward to is Keane Barry v Grant Sampson. I love watching players who never thought they’d ever get the chance to play on such a stage and Sampson is one of them. He’s admitted he’s only used to playing in front of 40 or 50 people in South Africa and he “can’t get his head around” playing in front of a TV audience of millions. It will be a heart-warming match even if he doesn’t win a leg!
Kevin Barth: I think that Karel Sedlacek against Raymond Smith could be a brilliant match with high quality so I’ll go for that. But I’m also excited to see how Beau Greaves will get into the tournament and how William O’Connor can handle the atmosphere in the arena.
Jack Garwood: Beau Greaves vs Willie O’Connor. There is a lot of attention on this game because of Beau’s exploits in the Women’s Series this year. The reigning women’s world champion has her work cut out against an O’Connor who I think is just a little too experienced to get caught up in any crowd antics or pressure should that be a factor. If Beau brings her A game here, she’s got a great chance.
Andrew Sinclair: I suspect this will be a common answer but it’s got to be Beau Greaves against William O’Connor, hasn’t it? It’s a big test for Beau but she’s produced a level of dominance on the women’s circuit this year that’s almost unmatched anywhere in the sport. Prior to the World Masters weekend she’d won 14 WDF ranking titles in the space of nine months and eight Women’s Series events without losing a single match. Willie is game and enters as the favourite but I wouldn’t be stunned if Beau ended up winning.
There are a couple of others I want to mention. Ben Robb, a good friend of my podcast, is opening the tournament against Mickey Mansell. The big Kiwi is improving all the time and I’d love it if he got his first Ally Pally win this year. The other is David Cameron, who I backed to win the World Seniors Masters earlier in the year (thanks for the Tip of the Year Award in advance, chaps). Excalibur has grinded for years to make Ally Pally and now he’s finally done it. It’s a tough start against Ritchie Edhouse but it should be a cracking game.
Dylan Williams: It’s nigh on impossible to pick out one match – but I will be making sure I’m in prime position in front of the box for these: Burnett v Gawlas: two of the quirkiest characters in our sport, God knows what we’ll get! O’Connor v Greaves: Willie is a seasoned pro, but even with his experience he won’t have played in many bigger more anticipated matches. Crowd could play a big part if Beau gets going. Campbell v Baggish: big fan of both players, it’s a shame that one will have to head home at such an early stage. If they equally bring their ‘A’ game, it could be one of the standout ties of the first round for me. They’re all coin tosses, which makes for an exciting watch.
Lendel Faria: For me it’s Karel Sedlacek vs Raymond Smith. It is actually mindboggling that these two top players don’t even have a tour card! It’s a testament to how good the depth in quality has been in the sport of darts. Even outside the 128 you can find a ton of very capable players all very capable of doing damage on tour in the coming years!
Jetze Jan Idsardi: Beau Greaves vs William O’Connor is probably the most anticipated game of the whole tournament, but there are loads of other brilliant games. Rodriguez vs Ilagan screams ‘testosterone’, while Karel Sedlacek vs Raymond Smith has all the ingredients of becoming a high-standard game. The North American-clash between Baggish and Campbell should be tasty too.
Carl Fletcher: No doubt William O’Connor vs Beau Greaves and Ryan Joyce vs Scott Williams are eagerly anticipated but Jim Williams vs Sebastian Bialecki is the match I’m most looking forward to. Williams has been in the winners circle this year winning Players Championship 6 and Bialecki was terrific reaching the UK Open quarter-finals. Can see this being a five setter of high quality.
Pim Huberts: My first pick is probably not a surprising one: Beau Greaves vs William O’Connor. Greaves has been stacking up titles this year and has shown a better level of women’s darts than ever before. Other close games I’m looking forward to are Jim Williams vs Sebastian Bialecki and Mike de Decker vs Jeff Smith.
Which seeds are most in danger of going out in the second round?
Mark Webster: The seeds in danger are Rydz, Suljovic, King and De Sousa.
Rod Studd: We know from experience that any seed could be vulnerable early doors in this format but perhaps most in peril are Daryl Gurney against Alan Soutar if Soutar beats Cuming. And Jose De Sousa if he ends up playing Simon Whitlock.
Dan Dawson: Jose, Wade, Clemens, Gurney, Huybrechts… I could go on… so I shall… Rydz, Mensur, Merv, maybe even my tip for the final Cross.
Laura Turner: Clemens and Suljovic have had a mixed season. Clemens will face either O’Connor or Greaves, and Suljovic was struggling at the Players Championships Finals.
Stuart Pyke: Wouldn’t surprise me if at least 10 of the 32 seeds lost. Vulnerable- King v Campbell or Baggish. Expect it to be the Canadian. Rob Cross could have had it easier. Scott Williams on his day can be explosive and Ryan Joyce loves an Ally Pally upset. Rydz v Rock or Justicia. Should be Rock who could set the tournament alight. Keane Barry to get through to play Kim Huybrechts and then beat the Belgian. Alan Soutar to get through to face Daryl Gurney and cause an upset although on current form not sure how much of an upset it would be.
Chris Murphy: De Sousa could be in trouble as could Suljovic but I think the big shock could be an early exit for Dave Chisnall, despite his undoubted ability and decent season. Chizzy may have to be at his best to defeat either Andrew Gilding or Robert Owen, who I am tipping for a great 2023.
Christopher Kempf: Seeds most in danger are Mensur Suljovic, Callan Rydz, Daryl Gurney and Mervyn King.
Phil Haigh: Suljovic, Rydz (who is excellent, but obviously Rock is a huge threat), Gurney.
Josh Green: As ever, I think there’s a bucket full of seeds that could be in trouble. Gabriel Clemens will have his hands full with either Willie O’Connor or Beau Greaves, and I’d make Alan Soutar a favourite against Daryl Gurney. But I think Mensur Suljovic may have to watch his back in his second-round match, both Mike de Decker and Jeff Smith are very capable on their day and the Austrian hasn’t hit the height in the last 18 months or so.
Chris Hammer: Kim Huybrechts will probably be underdog if he comes up against Keane Barry – as will Callan Rydz against Josh Rock! Dimitri Van den Bergh could also be vulnerable against Rowby-John Rodriguez given his recent form while I’d also expect Mensur Suljovic and Mervyn King to struggle – especially the latter against the very dangerous Matt Campbell.
Kevin Barth: Callan Rydz will be in trouble against Josh Rock. Also Mensur Suljovic with his bad Ally Pally record in the last years. Martin Schindler has got a tricky first hurdle with possibly Martin Lukeman. I also think Matt Campbell will take out Mervyn King. And finally José De Sousa really needs to find his A game or Simon Whitlock will give him a lesson.
Jack Garwood: It pains me to say it, but James Wade is the most high profile name at risk in round two. There’s something about this tournament that just doesn’t click with him, and both of his potential opponents (Bialecki or J Williams) are both capable of the upset. A notable shout also for Damon Heta should Adrian Lewis beat Daniel Larsson. If your TV form is being questioned, the last thing you want to see is Adrian Lewis at the Ally Pally with a point to prove as your opponent.
Andrew Sinclair: Gabriel Clemens faces William O’Connor or Beau Greaves in his first game, which is a horrible draw for a man with a fairly poor stage record. I could see Callan Rydz and Daryl Gurney falling by the wayside early on as well but the man I’m most confident will face an early exit is Mervyn King. Mervyn has only won £36,500 this year and faces either Matt Campbell or Danny Baggish first. Both Matt and Danny are very capable players and with a game behind them, I think whoever wins their game will put King out of the tournament.
Dylan Williams: De Sousa – Whitlock will beat Perez and then take care of ‘The Special One’. Although Schindler has been much improved in 2022 when he isn’t on it, his ‘B’ game isn’t yet good enough, which will put him in trouble against Martin Lukeman. Controversial maybe but I’m predicting an early exit for 2018 champion Rob Cross. Ryan Joyce showed flashes of what he’s capable of in Minehead recently and Scott Williams is an enigma, and a bloody good dart player. If ‘Voltage’ isn’t at the races I expect either opponent to cause an upset.
Lendel Faria: I would have to say Callan Rydz because of the fact that he is likely to play Josh Rock in round two! Josh has been one of the best players in the world for some months now and if he comes close to the level that he has been displaying for some time now Callan is in for a toughie! Daryl Gurney is also one that wouldn’t be particularly happy about his draw since he’s probably playing Alan Soutar.
Jetze Jan Idsardi: José De Sousa has been up and down for the past months and finds a very dangerous (potential) opponent in Simon Whitlock. Martin Schindler on the other hand has been great, but is lacking results on TV. Martin Lukeman could fully take advantage of that. Mensur Suljovic, who hasn’t got a great record in Ally Pally, will also be in danger against either Mike de Decker or Jeff Smith, while King might struggle against Campbell/Baggish.
Carl Fletcher: We saw at the Players Championships Finals that a number of seeds can fall early on and there could be similar on the cards here. Hard to predict how many but I worry about the chances of four: José De Sousa who could face Simon Whitlock in the second round, James Wade hasn’t been firing on all cylinders lately and he faces the winner of the aforementioned Jim Williams/Sebastian Bialecki match. Callan Rydz has the unenviable potential task of facing Josh Rock whilst Mensur Suljovic hasn’t looked good of late either. Mike De Decker or Jeff Smith will fancy their chances in that one.
Pim Huberts: James Wade, Dave Chisnall, José De Sousa, Gabriel Clemens, Martin Schindler, Callan Rydz, Mensur Suljovic.
In 2022 we’ve seen Michael van Gerwen back winning majors, we’ve had several new first-time major winners – but what are you most looking forward to about this World Championship?
Mark Webster: I can’t wait for it to get going. I’m really looking forward to watching Richie Burnett again.
Rod Studd: I say this every year but I look forward to walking into Alexandra Palace. It’s always a great thrill to be back there for a great event in the sporting calendar, knowing more history will be made between now and January 3.
Dan Dawson: The secret, invite-only Bronzed Adonis themed party “Beaton-palooza 2022”, which I’ve finally managed to get into this year. It’s in a car park near at midnight on the 24th. Don’t tell anyone. Keep it under your hat.
Laura Turner: Aside from the amazing Ally Pally atmosphere, one thing I love about the Worlds is the new players we are introduced to, their stories and how they perform on that infamous stage! The set play adds that exciting element, where games can turn in an instant and seeds can tumble in those earlier rounds!
Stuart Pyke: As for the tournament simply expect the unexpected! The Worlds throw up so many stories that you wouldn’t expect ! Look at Borland and the nine darter last year. (Editor’s note: PURE DARTS!)
Chris Murphy: Dan Dawson commentating on it. Deservedly.
Ian Danter: Personally I’m really looking forward to seeing fans from the continent being able to join us at the Palace once again post-pandemic. It’s great to have such a cosmopolitan atmosphere for the Worlds and the Dutch/German fans in particular are always welcome
Christopher Kempf: Looking forward to the debut of a Ukrainian player at the World Championship – Omelchenko is one of the few regional players to have had to qualify by winning a best-of-5 sets match.
Phil Haigh: The annual Gary Anderson display of excellence at Ally Pally is always something to look forward to. It’s rarer and rarer the rest of the year now, but he always seems to turn it on at the Worlds. Something to savour while it is around.
Josh Green: For me, it’s always about seeing players we don’t see on a regular basis, which this year includes a certain Gary Anderson! The international qualifiers are always a highlight, particularly those qualified from the Asian Tour, and there’s plenty of capable throwers out there for 2023.
Chris Hammer: I’ve counted a record 22 debutants in the field and like I said about Grant Sampson, I love watching new names try and hold their nerves on the biggest stage of all. One of those debutants is Beau Greaves of course, and I’m hoping for a couple of wins from her to capture the imagination – while it’s great to see Prakash Jiwa in the field for the first time! He’s played in about 130 Players Championship events down the years but never previously qualified! And obviously we can all look forward to a nine-darter or three!
Kevin Barth: It will be my first time back at the Ally Pally after three long years. It’s just the opportunity of being back in the arena, feeling the atmosphere and being there when the typical World Championship stories get going.
Jack Garwood: It’s just the biggest darts tournament in the world. We’re guaranteed upsets, we’re guaranteed fireworks, and we’re guaranteed quality. The most intriguing factor for me is how the ‘Next Gen’ get on. Josh Rock, Beau Greaves, Keane Barry, Callan Rydz and even those slightly more established Luke Humphries, Dirk can Duijvenbode and Dimitri van den Bergh. The names we know and love in the sport aren’t getting any younger, and that will leave a big gap at the top should some of these players be able to step up and take it!
Andrew Sinclair: This feels like the first tournament since 2019 where there’s no real COVID fears hanging over it. Everything appears to be back to normal and with a super strong field on paper, I’m really looking forward to it.
Dylan Williams: For me it’s the fact that I get to see players which I don’t get to watch that often, and some I’ve never seen play before. And then there’s Richie Burnett…he is the reason I fell in love with this game. To see him back on the biggest stage at this point of his career is something I wasn’t expecting to see if I’m brutally honest. Just hoping he can roll back the years and ruffle some feathers.
Lendel Faria: I’m looking forward to seeing how the Asian players will do on the big stage. We have been very fortunate to see the return of Asian darts and the standard over there has been very promising to say the least. Let’s hope a few of those guys can inspire other players to give the PDC Asian Tour a go because I really think that there is a good chance that we’ll have a few top 64 players from Asia in a few years and especially the guys from Japan and the Philippines always seem to be brilliant characters to watch!
Jetze Jan Idsardi: The first round is always the round I enjoy the most. Seeing loads of international players you don’t see that often during the years. The best stories are created in this type of games: just look at players like Vladyslav Omelchenko, Beau Greaves and Fallon Sherrock, who are creating headlines without even having played! Let’s hope for some upsets to create an even better story.
Carl Fletcher: Firstly I’m looking forward to an uninterrupted non-Covid blighted World Championship after the last two years. I’m also looking forward to seeing how MVG gets on. He’s closed the gap on the top two in the rankings remarkably. This would be the icing on the cake for him here to reclaim the World Championship crown and world number one spot too.
Pim Huberts: Watching international players make their ultimate darts dreams come true. It’s the games of Vladyslav Omelchenko (first ever Ukrainian in a World Championship), Nobuhiro Yamamoto, Grant Sampson and Xicheng Han I want to see most. Will a new story start this year? I’m excited!
Picture: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
Leave a Reply