After a turbulent last few months in the BDO, Martijn Kleermaker can finally fully focus on darts after winning his PDC Tour Card at the European Q-School.

The Dutchman earned enough points at European Q-School to claim his PDC Tour Card through the European Q-School Order of Merit. A new world of darts opened up for him, Kleermaker said in an extensive interview with

“The level is different of course. At the BDO and WDF tournaments, you had an easy game in the first two rounds regularly as a seeded player. You don’t have that in the PDC, anyone with a Tour Card can play darts.

”If you look at the Pro Tours, it is arranged so well for the players. The lanes are good, tight time schedules and the rules are actually applied. If you do not stick to that, then you have bad luck. In my opinion that works very well. That is why I am very happy that I am currently playing in the PDC. I’m rather playing at a higher level, that also makes you stronger.”

Clear structure

Prior to his first Pro Tour weekend, Kleermaker was invited to attend a briefing for the new Tour Card holders. The Professional Darts Players Association (PDPA) explained there how things work in the PDC. The 29-year-old Dutchman learned a lot from this meeting.

”You get a lot of information, for example also about tax matters. It is always handy to know things like that. It’s a complete different world. Of course it’s still the darts world, but a world with much more money involved than in the BDO. Much higher amounts can be won. It is handy that you have such a briefing to get information.”

”The information is also received by e-mail. That’s really nice. Things are very clear within the PDC. It’s actually made pretty easy when it comes to the rules.”

No hassle with prize money and redraws, like with the BDO World Masters. After a tumultuous time, in which Kleermaker felt compelled to publicly criticize BDO chairman Des Jacklin, he can now shut himself off from these issues in order to be able to fully concentrate on his darts performances in the PDC.

”For half a year I was literally only busy lashing out at the BDO and actually harassing Mr Jacklin. But that was with a thought behind it. Not everyone said anything about it. After the BDO World Championship the book was closed, especially after winning my Tour Card. I don’t have to worry about things like that anymore. Let them sort it out. I focus on my thing in the PDC.”

Sven Neuschaefer/PDC Europe

Photo: Sven Neuschaefer/PDC Europe

Successful first month

With his Players Championship debut, Kleermaker immediately managed to reach the last 32. The Dutch Giant then also reached the second round twice in the following five Players Championship events. He has now also made his European Tour debut at the Belgian Darts Championship. With victories over Stephen Bunting and Joe Cullen, Kleermaker managed to reach the final day of action in Hasselt.

“The first [two] Pro Tour weekends went pretty well. At the third Pro Tour weekend I tried my new darts, but that wasn’t going very well. On the European Tour I picked up my old set-up again and immediately made it to the Sunday. I was extremely satisfied with that. It was great that I could straighten out a less Pro Tour weekend on the European Tour, which means I’m back on track for what I have in mind.”

Kleermaker isn’t qualified for the second European Tour-tournament of the season, which he sees as a good opportunity to get more practice with his new darts. “That’s a great time to grab my new darts for a longer period. I think a small change can still be made to the dart. They are a bit too heavy I think. But I have to practice a little more to see what did not work out with the new darts that did work with my old darts.”

World Championship is the main goal

The goals for the coming months are clear. Kleermaker wants to play at Alexandra Palace at the end of the year. ”The main goal is of course to reach the World Championship. That is really my most important goal. In addition, I think the Players Championship Finals should be achievable as well.”

”The rankings for tournaments such as the World Matchplay have been running for some time. Then you have to perform really well to achieve that. So my goals are mainly the European Championship, World Championship and possibly the Players Championship Finals. If I could achieve that in my first year, then you can say I had a good first year.”

Evert Zomer

Photo: Evert Zomer

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Author: Pieter