Rob Cross caused a shock to win the 2018 PDC World Championship. And Barry Hearn is sure that it could happen again in 2019.

It wouldn’t be as much of a surprise if Cross, now world number two, retains his crown. Instead, PDC Chairman Hearn is looking further afield. With a record 96 players in the field for the World Championship, there could easily be a few dark horses.

“It is, without doubt, the most open and the greatest event that we have ever staged,” Hearn told Sky Sports.

“The standard is through the roof and I can’t wait.

“We’ve seen a year where no upset will surprise us. We know we’re dealing with a host of top quality players.

You could make a case for 32 of them causing upsets, out of the 96-player field.”

There have been a wide range of winners on the PDC Tour in 2018. As well as the likes of Michael van Gerwen and Gary Anderson, Gerywn Price and Daryl Gurney have landed major titles. James Wade and Mensur Suljovic also won big on stage. Max Hopp, Jonny Clayton and Ian White all claimed European Tour wins. There was no shortage of winners on the floor, including three-time event winner Krzysztof Ratajski – who doesn’t even hold a Tour Card.

The result, Hearn believes, is a real winner-takes-all event at the Alexandra Palace.

“The essence for these players is to time their run. It’s not doom and gloom [depending upon] how you played last week,” he said.”

“You’ve got until December 13 to get your game back into pristine condition. Who is mentally equipped to say: ‘forget what has gone on’.

“Established players, great players, have been winning tournaments and Van Gerwen hasn’t.”

Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Photo: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

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Author: Ed McCosh