Ain’t It Grand (Prix)?

DOUBLE start 501, a complete change from every other major steel tip darts event. The PDC’s World Grand Prix is unique and, as a result, celebrated and enjoyed by many.

Combined with its original Dublin* home, and history of early-round shocks, the double start format ensures that there is always something to talk about and that the atmosphere is different from that of the other major events.

Despite these distinct features, there are very few names on the Trophy itself. Phil Taylor collected 11 titles, during his dominant spells, yet even he could not put together a run of more than three-in-a-row. Other than The Power only MVG has managed more than two crowns. 

Yet the cast of characters to have reached the final is perhaps the best measure of the reason the WGP always holds such a fascination.

Shayne Burgess, Roland Scholten, Harrington, Warriner, Part and Barney all featured in the early years. Still, it’s players like Brendan Dolan and Dave Chisnall, Dirk van Duijvenbode and Merv King’s comeback run that demonstrate how the event can still change lives and secure careers.

BRENDAN DOLAN CELEBRATES HIS HISTORIC 9-DART FINISH ( 8/10/11 PIC;LAWRENCE LUSTIG)

Few would doubt the place earned by Brendan with his multiple runs to the later stages and a moment of history that’s his forever.

Other players have broken through or grabbed attention at the WGP. John Henderson gave perhaps the best examples of his huge talent, prior to Scotland’s World Cup win, with his run in 2011 and his later defeat of MVG (in his pomp). Mark Hylton reached the Qtr finals during the same time, and Richard North also grabbed the spotlight.

The event being staged away from the usual UK venues, but without the logistical stresses and strains of complex travel, and with a pair of Pro Tours attached, lent the event a different nature to the other majors. Newly qualified players had time to settle and enjoy the experience often staying with a group of their peers for some of the time.

As one may expect the hospitality and friendly nature of Dublin and Ireland also played a role. Returning players often met the same fans, friends, staff, and officials for many years in succession. Familiarity breeds relaxation and comfortable players often produce their best.

This year, again in the Morningside Arena, is particularly difficult to predict and we may see shocks aplenty or none at all. Only two players have ever retained the title, MVG is returning to form. Wright has begun to develop a method of producing his best at the most significant events and tops the form table and Price is waking up in time for the trophy season again.

The Champion, Jonny Clayton, has been hit and miss but there are signs of there being more in the plus column again.

Perhaps Dave Chisnall could prove an interesting outsider after getting back into the tournament-winning habit recently, his route however is very tough.

So, seeds falling everywhere or business as usual? At the WGP neither would be a surprise. That’s why we love it!

*There must now be some doubt whether the WGP will return to Dublin the 2023 PDC calendar shows Leicester again being the venue.

Roll of Honour

  • 1998 Phil Taylor def Rod Harrington 13-8
  • 1999 Phil Taylor def Shayne Burgess 6-1
  • 2000 Phil Taylor def Shayne Burgess 6-1
  • 2001 Alan Warriner def Roland Scholten 8-2
  • 2002 Phil Taylor def John Part 7-3
  • 2003 Phil Taylor def John Part 7-2
  • 2004 Colin Lloyd def Alan Warriner 7-3
  • 2005 Phil Taylor def Colin Lloyd 7-1
  • 2006 Phil Taylor def Terry Jenkins 7-4
  • 2007 James Wade def Terry Jenkins 6-3
  • 2008 Phil Taylor def Raymond van Barneveld 6-2
  • 2009 Phil Taylor def Raymond van Barneveld 6-3
  • 2010 James Wade def Adrian Lewis 6-2
  • 2011 Phil Taylor def Brendan Dolan 6-3
  • 2012 Michael van Gerwen def Mervyn King 6-4
  • 2013 Phil Taylor def Dave Chisnall 6-0
  • 2014 Michael van Gerwen def James Wade 5-3
  • 2015 Robert Thornton def Michael van Gerwen 5-4
  • 2016 Michael van Gerwen def Gary Anderson 5-2
  • 2017 Daryl Gurney def Simon Whitlock 5-4
  • 2018 Michael van Gerwen def Peter Wright 5-2
  • 2019 Michael van Gerwen def Dave Chisnall 5-2
  • 2020 Gerwyn Price def Dirk van Duijvenbode 5-2
  • 2021 Jonny Clayton def Gerwyn Price 5-1

Nine-Darters

  • Brendan Dolan 2011 semi-finals v James Wade
  • James Wade 2014 second round v Robert Thornton
  • Robert Thornton 2014 second round v James Wade

—–ENDS—–

Images: PDC

Available Free: Darts World Extra 5

Click here to purchase DW580:

Darts World Magazine (Issue 580) and fantastic value bundle offers:
Subscribe or purchase your copy

Leave a Reply