By News Team
17th April 2020
The PDC Tour is open for any player with a PDC tour card and will run for an initial 32 nights, starting on Friday, with all matches the best of nine legs.
Fixtures will start with four players competing in a mini league each evening, while following the conclusion of the initial 32 nights of league phase action, the 32 group winners will advance to the second phase of the competition.
Below we look at the first four groups to have been announced, with each group’s respective fixtures taking place from Friday to Monday and discuss who has the best chance of being crowned the inaugural PDC Tour champion.
Group One: Snakebite to cruise through?
To the casual darts fan, it may seem that Peter Wright has a straightforward run through the group, which also includes Peter Jacques, Jamie Lewis and Niels Zonneveld. That could be the case, with Wright the joint-favourite to win the competition, but there’s a huge chance we could see some upsets. We must remember that these matches aren’t played in front of a crowd, which could affect the form book as it’s essentially a less stressful floor event.
The Players Championship this year has thrown up some incredible upsets with Ryan Searle beating Michael van Gerwen and floor demon Ian White constantly in the mix.
In terms of Snakebite’s opponents on Friday, Lewis managed to reach the semi-final of the World Darts Championship in 2018 but has struggled to find form since, while Zonneveld is a 21-year-old up-and-coming star who recently won a return to the tour by winning at Q-School.
Wright will be the favourite to progress through the group but don’t be surprised if the group is far closer than it first appears to be.
Group Two: Is the Price right?
Gerwyn Price is the highest seed in Group Two, which takes place on Saturday, and will be joined by Rowby-John Rodriguez, Ted Evetts and Luke Woodhouse. Rodriguez looks to be the biggest threat to the Iceman out of the group, but you simply can’t write off Woodhouse and Evetts either.
Woody had a fantastic 2019 while Evetts is a former development tour champion. On a normal night, though, Price would arguably see all three of these players off – and barring any shocks he should come out on top, with the Welshman the fellow joint-favourite to win the competition.
Group Three: Chizzy to avoid an upset?
Dave Chisnall headlines Group Three on Sunday night in what looks to be a competitive group. Chisnall takes on PDC newcomer Scott Waites, former Players Championship Finals quarter-finalist Jan Dekker and Welshman Jonathan Worsley.
Chisnall faces Waites in the first leg on Sunday, which could be one of the matches of the tournament. Waites is a former Lakeside champion and Grand Slam of Darts winner so this could be a tough ask for Chizzy. One thing’s for sure, though, this match should decide who tops the group.
Group Four: Queen Ashton?
Lisa Ashton made history by becoming the first female competitor to win through Q-School and she will be hoping to make history yet again by becoming the inaugural PDC Tour champion. Standing in Ashton’s way in Group Four will be former Players Championship event winner – and master of cunning – Mickey Mansell, 2019 UK Open quarter-finalist Ross Smith and Dutch star Geert Nentjes.
Group Four, which will unfold on Monday night, looks set to be one of the more open groups to have been announced so far and is incredibly difficult to call. It would be great if Ashton could make history yet again so expect a lot of fan support to be flying her way.
Price the early frontrunner?
As mentioned, following the conclusion of the initial 32 nights of league phase action, the 32 group winners will advance to the second phase of the competition.
From the groups to have been announced so far, both Wright and Price are the early favourites to not just top their pools, but to win the whole thing. It’s Price, though, that will be the man to beat – he’s consistently performed well this year and is always in the mix with the Players Championships, which is the most similar event to this in terms of the format.
Whatever happens, we’re in for an exciting event. The PDC Tour is a fantastic addition to the sport of darts and the tournament looks set to be a cracker.