From Monday, Oct. 2 to Sunday, Oct. 8, the 23rd edition of the World Grand Prix is scheduled. The event will be held at the Morningside Arena in Leicester.
This playing venue is no stranger to darters. The venue in Leicester is hosting the World Grand Prix for the third consecutive year. Moreover, the Morningside Arena regularly hosts Pro Tour tournaments. So all participants have played at the Morningside Arena before.
These players will drop in the world rankings due to their absence from the World Grand Prix
The World Grand Prix is a special tournament on the PDC calendar. It is the only tournament of the year where legs must also be started with a double. And that requirement throws a whole other dimension on the tournament.
A set format is also used in this tournament. Players must win three legs to gain a set. The format runs from best of 3 sets in the first round, to best of 9 sets in the final.
The event was first played in 1998. At the time, Phil Taylor won his first of a total of eleven World Grand Prix titles. That the format of the World Grand Prix lends itself to surprising results is perhaps evidenced by the fact that in addition to his 11 titles, Taylor also lost five times in the first round. His defeat to Andy Callaby at the 2004 World Grand Prix entered the history books as one of the greatest shocks ever at a PDC major.
In 2001, Alan Warriner-Little put himself as the second name on the honor roll of this tournament. In that year, Warriner-Little also made history by throwing an average of 106.45 in one of his matches. To this day, that is still the highest match average at the World Grand Prix.
The World Grand Prix also proved to be the tournament where several darters won their first major title. Colin Lloyd won his first of two major titles there in 2004. Michael van Gerwen captured his first of now fifty major titles at the World Grand Prix in 2012. Daryl Gurney won his first major title at the 2017 World Grand Prix.
With 11 titles, Taylor is by far the record holder at the double-in double-out tournament. Van Gerwen has triumphed six times, while James Wade, with two titles, is the third player with multiple final victories. Colin Lloyd, Alan Warriner-Little, Gerwyn Price, Robert Thornton, Daryl Gurney and Jonny Clayton won the event once.
In the history of the World Grand Prix, only three nine-starters have been thrown at this tournament. Brendan Dolan threw himself into the history books with a perfect leg during the 2011 edition. Nicknamed "The History Maker," Dolan is still inseparable from this achievement.
On Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2014, James Wade and Robert Thornton made history by both throwing a nine-darter in the same match. To date, that is the only match in darts history in which both players managed to record a nine-darter.
Favourites and outsiders
Among bookmakers, Michael van Gerwen is considered the big favourite. 'Mighty Mike' won the most recent televised tournament (World Series Finals in September) and can count on a good record at this tournament. In the past 11 years, Van Gerwen lost only twice in the first round and won the tournament six times.
Another good contender is Gerwyn Price, who has managed to reach at least the semifinals each of the past three years and won the tournament in 2020. The double-in double-out format seems to suit Price well.
That is not true of reigning world champion Michael Smith. In his ten previous appearances, "Bullyboy" lost no fewer than eight times in the first round. On the other two occasions the second round was the end station. Smith also does not seem to have found the form with which he reached the final of the European Darts Championship last season and won the Grand Slam of Darts and the World Darts Championship.
With Gary Anderson, Luke Humphries and Dave Chisnall, there are three players who have actually shown excellent form recently.... Humphries and Chisnall asserted themselves on the Pro Tour in recent weeks.
They were both in the final match of the Hungarian Darts Trophy and Players Championship 23. In both cases, Chisnall walked away with the title. Incidentally, Chisnall has regularly had good results at the World Grand Prix. In 2013 and 2019, he was in the final there, while 'Chizzy' managed to reach the semifinals in 2016 and 2020.
Anderson shined in the week leading up to the World Grand Prix during the Pro Tour tournaments in Barnsley. 'The Flying Scotsman' won one of the three tournaments and threw an average above 100 in thirteen of his eighteen matches, including seven averages even above 105.
Another outsider is Nathan Aspinall, winner of the World Matchplay in July. The Asp' is considered an excellent finisher, but with Stephen Bunting he has a player who is also in good shape. Bunting recently reached the final of the German Darts Open and has been racking up 100+ average scores lately.
How can I watch the World Grand Prix on TV?
The 2023 World Grand Prix is will be broadcast in its entirety by Sky Sports.
The first broadcast will be on Monday, Oct. 2, at 6 p.m. Also on Tuesday, Oct. 3, the broadcast will begin at that time. From Wednesday through Friday, broadcasts will begin at 7 p.m. On Saturday, Oct. 7 and Sunday, Oct. 8, broadcasting will begin around 8 p.m.
How much prize money is there to earn?
The prize pool includes £600,000 in prize money. This makes the prize pool now almost sixteen times larger than when the tournament started in 1998. Back then, "only" £38,000 was made available by the PDC.
All participants will receive 7,500 pounds of prize money credited to their ranking anyway. This amount can eventually add up to a grand prize of £120,000 for the winner of the tournament.