Darts has come a long way in recent years; thinking of it as a popular pastime in the pub is now just a memory. It’s now a full-blown sport and comes with all the great competitive attributes: colourful characters (we’re looking at you, Snakebite), titles, betting opportunities and sponsorships. Darts has it all.

One of the sport’s most famous players in history is Michael van Gerwen. But is the Dutch superstar ready to up his game and fight back for what’s rightfully his – the PDC World Championship crown?

Celebrating the best in darts

Did you know that the PDC has been around for 16 years now? When the World Darts Council split from the BDO World Darts Championship in 1994, it resulted in the creation of the PDC, the Professional Darts Corporation. Which is better for us as it means we get two lots of competitions to spectate each year. It’s different for the players, though, as darts superstars can choose which World Championship they want to enter but cannot do both in the same year. After all, we wouldn’t want one player monopolising all the awards.

And that player is MVG

Or Michael van Gerwen to his wife (maybe, she might not be so formal). Despite not winning the 2020 PDC World Championship (runner-up isn’t bad, though), he has won it three times before in 2014, 2017 and 2019. He holds the record for being the youngest winner of the PDC World Championships, something that he still holds today.

The Dutchman has been dominating the sport over the last few years and is the most successful player in PDC history, with only Phil Taylor rating ahead of him until 2019. That year van Gerwen overtook Taylor’s records but as the latter retired, aged 57, it has given van Gerwen another 27 years to make it extra hard for his competition.

It must have been a sour taste to darts championships when van Gerwen was knocked out in the first round to Gary Robson in the BDO Championship, which has suffered recently, in 2007. Though since then he hasn’t entered it again, instead preferring the PDC World Championships.

A quick look at van Gerwen’s trophy cabinet, if there’s even any room left, is testament to his skills at the sport. Champions of the Masters, Premier League, World Grand Prix, Players Championship Finals – the list goes on. Which is why when it comes to darts betting, it’s no wonder he’s the bookies’ red hot favourite at 27/20 to win again, especially with the current form he’s displaying.

Pieter Verbeek/PV-Darts

Photo: Pieter Verbeek/PV-Darts

Expect competition

Current PDC World Darts Champion, Peter Wright, is at 13/2. After suffering a first-round defeat to Michael van Gerwen in the 2010 competition, he overcame all the odds ten years later to beat him to the title. Was it down to years of hard training? Was it his mohawk (and subsequent hair envy from van Gerwen)? Perhaps it was all of it, but the main point is that the current champ was knocked off his pedestal and it’s set Wright off on a darts winning conquest. So, let’s see how he does.

The Scots are all out in force this year and the Flying Scotsman, Gary Anderson is also one to keep an eye on. He’s third on the all-time list behind Michael van Gerwen and Phil Taylor and boasts a successful record, including winning the PDC World Championship twice in 2015 and 2016. He is also a mentor to Bully Boy Michael Smith, the 2013 PDC Under-21 World Champion

who came runner-up to van Gerwen in the 2017 PDC World Championship. With more experience and guidance under his belt, who knows what to expect. The bookies have Anderson at 16/1.

Let the games commence

It might seem like the championship finals are a long way off, but the games have begun to commence. In particular, the female darts scene has burst into life after Fallon Sherrock made history by being the first woman to win a match at the PDC. However, you’ll get long odds on her winning the title next year – she’s at 500/1.

But for now, our eyes are focused on the near future. And that near future raises many questions. What’s in store for the female darts championship, a game which is like women’s football, getting more and more popular? And is 2020 the year that Michael van Gerwen retakes his crown as PDC World Champion? Can his competition up their game? And if he does make it to the finals, what colour and style mohawk is Peter Wright going to have?

Pieter Verbeek/PV-Darts

Photo: Pieter Verbeek/PV-Darts

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Author: Pieter