The PDC European Tour is back. What better time to enjoy some good old fashioned European unity?
Established in 2012, the European Tour has become a staple of the PDC Pro Tour. It is also one of the most accessible in terms of big stage experience and serious ranking money. PDC players have come to see European Tour spots as a golden ticket.
Last year, we saw six different winners in the 13 events. Michael van Gerwen dominated as usual, winning eight. Max Hopp won the German Darts Open in memorable fashion. Jonny Clayton, Gerwyn Price, Mensur Suljovic and Ian White were also victorious. Peter Wright, Michael Smith, James Wade, Steve Lennon, Adrian Lewis, Simon Whitlock, William O’Connor, James Wilson and Ricky Evans all reached a final. Surprisingly it was Wade who broke free from the pack to win the season-ending European Championship.
Starting on March 22, the 2019 tour visits seven different countries, and 13 locations. Leverkusen, Hildesheim, Munich, Saarbrucken, Sindelfingen, Mannheim and Riesa will all host events in Germany. There are two events in Austria and one each in the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Denmark and Gibraltar.
Big names taking part
The European Tour events are frequently populated by the world’s top players. Only Gary Anderson has a proclivity for skipping European trips. It means that the Scot is a long-term European Championship absentee. The likes of van Gerwen, Wright and Suljovic can be spotted at almost every event.
One of the biggest names in the history of the game is Raymond van Barneveld. Barney, the two-time European Championship semi-finalist, has been largely absent from the European Tour in recent times. But the PDC legend is back, desperate to get enough ranking money together to appear at the 2020 PDC World Championship.
Van Barneveld is booked in to be at two of the first four events of the season; the European Darts Open and the German Darts Open.
Ones to watch
Aside from the familiar faces, plenty of attention will be on Glen Durrant. The three-time BDO world champion earned some stage experience at the UK Open, but it will be the European Tour that gives the Teessider more exposure to a variety of PDC crowds.
It’s an oddity at this point that Rob Cross hasn’t won a European Tour event. The former world champion has reached two finals and the European Championship final, all in 2017. He will be keen to put that right in 2019.
Last year was a reminder that any player can come through the field to reach a final. Jermaine Wattimena is a likely candidate. The fast-flinging Dutchman was excellent on the European Tour last year, and already has a Players Championship final under his belt.
European qualifiers such as Jeffrey de Zwaan and Dimitri van den Bergh may fancy their chances on the continent, while Max Hopp, Martin Schindler and Gabriel Clemens will be widely backed, should they reach any of the seven German events.
How it works
The top 16 in the Pro Tour Order of Merit at the cut-off point gain instant entry to a European Tour event. The 16 seeds are joined by 32 qualifiers. The UK qualifying tournament provides 18 qualifiers for each tournament.
A qualification tournament for European Tour Card holders adds another six players to the line-up. The remaining eight spots are taken by four Home Nation Qualifiers, two European players without a Tour Card, a Nordic & Baltic qualifier and an Eastern European qualifier.
The 32 best players on the PDC European Tour Order of Merit after 13 European Tour events take part in the European Championship in Göttingen.
|ET1 European Darts Open||22 – 24 March||Leverkusen|
|ET2 German Darts Championship||29 – 31 March||Hildesheim|
|ET3 German Darts Grand Prix||20 – 22 April||München|
|ET4 German Darts Open||26 – 28 April||Saarbrücken|
|ET5 Austrian Darts Open||3 – 5 May||Graz|
|ET6 European Darts Grand Prix||10 – 12 May||Sindelfingen|
|ET7 Dutch Darts Masters||24 – 26 May||Zwolle|
|ET8 Danish Darts Open||14 – 16 June||Copenhagen|
|ET9 Czech Darts Open||28-30 June||Prague|
|ET10 Austrian Darts Championship||30 August – 1 September||Vienna|
|ET11 European Darts Matchplay||6 – 8 September||Mannheim|
|ET12 International Darts Open||13 – 15 September||Riesa|
|ET13 Gibraltar Darts Trophy||27 – 29 September||Gibraltar|
First round – Best of 11 legs
Second round – Best of 11 legs
Third round – Best of 11 legs
Quarter-finals – Beste of 11 legs
Semi-finals – Best of 13 legs
Final – Best of 15 legs
Prize Fund breakdown European Tour 2019
Author: Ed McCosh