Q-School is back, and professional careers will be made or broken in two darting venues.
Wigan and Hildesheim play host to UK Q-School and European Q-School. There are 30 precious Tour Cards at stake – three less than last year – with successful players completing the PDC Tour line-up. Play takes place across four days, from Thursday 3 January to Sunday 6 January (European) and from Thursday 17 January to Sunday 20 January (UK).
There is a new tournament each day. Players will receive points towards their Q-School Order of Merit total for every win. But first round victories do not count, as some players will receive byes.
There will be 19 PDC Tour Cards on offer at the Robin Park Tennis Centre, with the final two players on each of the four days winning an automatic PDC Tour Card.
In addition, players will earn ranking points per victory in each full round of the event (which does not include Byes), which will be used to form the UK Q School Order of Merit, from which the top 11 players will win Tour Cards. (Click here for the entries)
There will be a European Q-School for the second time, at Halle 39 in Hildesheim, Germany. Non-European players could pick which Q-School to go to. Only the winner of each day’s play will take an automatic Tour Card. Seven more spots will be handed out based on the European Q-School Order of Merit. (Click here to see the winners of this event.)
Q-School has kicked off many a successful career: here are some of the more impressive examples.
Dave Chisnall: Chisnall qualified on the very first day of Q-School action, back in 2011. Although he has yet to pick up a major trophy, Chisnall has established himself as one of the best players in the PDC. Chisnall, the current world number twelve, was a Premier League regular until last year. Fan favourite John Henderson also grabbed a Tour Card in 2011.
Jamie Lewis: The Welshman earned his Tour Card in 2012. Almost six years later, he hit the big time at the World Championship. After reaching the semi-finals, many have tipped Lewis to achieve great things in darts.
Daryl Gurney: The Northern Irishman turned up in 2013 as an outside bet, and won through on the second day. Since then, he has bade his time before storming up the world rankings. Now the world number five, and a two-time major winner to boot, Gurney has completed his rise to the top.
Gerwyn Price: The likes of Kyle Anderson, Antonio Alcinas and Benito van de Pas all won Tour Cards at Q-School in 2014. All three of them were successful on day one. On day two, an unknown former rugby player from Wales picked up a card for himself. From there, Gerwyn Price has gone from strength to strength. Now he is a major-winner, and will make his Premier League return in 2019.
Author: Ed McCosh