Q-School is over after seven long days in Milton Keynes, England and Niedernhausen, Germany. The multi-day event produced 32 lucky winners, who can show what they can do in the next two years on the lucrative PDC Pro Tour.
But the Q-School also produced many losers, players who went home without a PDC Tour Card. In total 659 players participated in one of the two Q-School, over six hundred missed out on the 'Golden Ticket'. But what are the alternatives for them in 2022?
Players who participated in the Q-School but didn't win a Tour Card are allowed by the PDC to participate in the Challenge Tour. This circuit consists of 24 tournaments. Each tournament has a prize pool of £10,000, with the winner receiving £2,000.
Via the Challenge Tour two spots for the World Darts Championship can be earned. The top two in the final ranking are allowed to participate in Alexandra Palace. They also receive a PDC Tour Card for 2023 and 2024.
Players who do well on the Challenge Tour also have a chance to play in the Pro Tour tournaments. If one or more Tour Card holders cancel their participation in Players Championship tournaments, the order of the Challenge Tour Order of Merit will be used to add substitutes to the tournaments.
Associate Member Qualifiers for Euro Tours
By participating in the Q-School, players are also entitled to play the Associate Member Qualifiers on the Euro Tour. If the coronapandemic doesn't throw a spanner in the works, there will again be thirteen Euro Tour tournaments on the schedule this year.
For each Euro Tour tournament an Associate Member Qualifier will be played. Two spots for the main tournament will be allocated. When participating in a Euro Tour tournament a player is assured of £1,000 in prize money. This can eventually rise to as much as £25,000 with a Euro Tour title.
Players aged 16 to 24 (23 on 1 January 2022) can participate in the PDC Development Tour, the youth circuit of the PDC. Participation in the Q-School is not required to take part in this circuit.
The Development Tour also consists of 24 tournaments, with each tournament having a prize fund of £10,000. The winner goes home with £10,000.
On the Development Tour there are also two spots for the World Darts Championship to be earned. The two best players at the end of the season get an invitation to the World Darts Championship. They will also receive a PDC Tour Card for the next two seasons.
There are also opportunities for the ladies. Since 2020 the PDC has its own Women's Series. At that time the circuit consisted of four tournaments, now this has expanded to twenty tournaments.
The PDC has reserved a £5,000 prize pool for each tournament. Through the Women's Series, they can get qualification for the Grand Slam of Darts and the World Darts Championship.
Players from outside the United Kingdom and countries like The Netherlands, Germany and Belgium sometimes have a regional circuit (under the flag of the PDC) to fall back on.
There is a Nordic & Baltic circuit for players from the Scandinavian countries and the Baltic states. For darts from the Eurasian zone, there is a EADC circuit. Players from Australia can go on the DPA Tour and darters from New Zealand have the DPNZ circuit. In North America there is the CDC Tour for darts from the United States and Canada. In all these circuits one or more World Championship spots can be obtained.
Not only the young players have their own tour, also the veterans (50+) have their own circuit. Although this is not organised by the PDC, but by the World Seniors Darts Tour (WSDT).
This organisation organises the first edition of the Seniors World Championship in February 2022, with among others Phil Taylor, Martin Adams, John Part, Robert Thornton, Peter Manley, Paul Lim, Darryl Fitton and Roland Scholten as participants.
The WSDT also organises several other tournaments, including its own World Masters and World Matchplay for seniors.
Players without a PDC Tour Card do not have to sign a PDC contract and this gives them the opportunity to play tournaments of other federations.
This way they can also participate in for example the open tournaments of the World Darts Federation (WDF). This gives them the opportunity to qualify for the amateur World Championship.
Also these players can participate in national ranking tournaments. In Holland for example players like Jelle Klaasen, Benito van de Pas and Christian Kist can participate in the NDB-ranking when it starts up again. In the UK you have the 'county system' as an alternative for British players.