The PDC has announced that next year’s World Championship will feature a larger field of 96 entrants, and that these will definitely include two female players. It’s a step in the right direction, and as well as giving the top female players a chance to compete at the very highest level, it will also raise the profile of women’s darts, which can be no bad thing.
It might also be what the men’s game needs to shake things up a little and stop the PDC from being the Michael Van Gerwen show that it has become since Phil Taylor’s retirement. At least, that is the implication of some tongue-in-cheek comments from the mighty Dutchman himself when he was interviewed on the subject by Sky Sports.
Van Gerwen had a twinkle in his eye as he made the above comment to ashen-faced interviewers. However, any fear that he was going to follow it up with remarks about women drivers or kitchen sinks were quickly put aside, as he went on to add: “But I don’t like losing to anyone.”
It was all said in good fun, but it’s the sort of comment that could come back to haunt Van Gerwen. In the event that he is drawn to play one of the ladies, the quote is sure to resurface, and it will put some much-needed pressure on the man who is so dominant at the moment that the best darts betting tips that even the experts can come up with relate to who he is going to beat in the next final.
Female players have always had the same opportunity as men to qualify, but appearances have been limited. In fact, the last woman to play in the event proper was Gayl King, who was beaten 3-1 by Graeme Stoddart in the first round back in 2001. In 2009, Anastasia Dobromyslova featured in a preliminary round, but lost to Remco van Eijden. The new ruling means that at least two women will be in the final 96, one from the UK and one from the Rest of the World.
As women’s darts gains a higher profile, the quality is steadily improving, and the gap between the women’s and men’s game is getting smaller. Only last week, Momo Zhou represented her nation in the World Cup of Darts, only the second woman to do so after – who else? - Anastasia Dobromyslova, who took Lakeside by storm back in 2010.
Zhou was partnered by Xiaochen Zong, and although they did not enjoy the same success as Russia back in 2010, it represented another important step towards women dart players stepping to the oche on level terms with the men.
The biggest question of all is just how large a gulf there is between men’s and women’s darts. Once again, the man of the moment has an opinion, and it might surprise you. Van Gerwen just won the Gibraltar Open with an incredible three dart average of 108 in the final and 104 throughout the entire tournament.
That was pretty special. In most PDC events, an average of 100 is going to get you into the final stages, while in the BDO, it is typically in the mid 90s. In his interview on Sky, Van Gerwen was positively gleeful when he pointed out that Fallon Sherrock won her last tournament averaging 96. Put that way, the gap doesn’t look so big after all. Let’s wait for this year’s draw, it could prove to be closer than many people think.
|2018||Rob Cross||beat||Phil Taylor||7||-||2|
|2017||Michael van Gerwen||beat||Gary Anderson||7||-||3|
|2016||Gary Anderson||beat||Adrian Lewis||7||-||5|
|2015||Gary Anderson||beat||Phil Taylor||7||-||6|
|2014||Michael van Gerwen||beat||Peter Wright||7||-||5|
|2013||Phil Taylor||beat||Michael van Gerwen||7||-||4|
|2012||Adrian Lewis||beat||Andy Hamilton||7||-||3|
|2011||Adrian Lewis||beat||Gary Anderson||7||-||5|
|2010||Phil Taylor||beat||Simon Whitlock||7||-||3|
|2009||Phil Taylor||beat||Raymond van Barneveld||7||-||1|
|2008||John Part||beat||Kirk Shepherd||7||-||2|
|2007||Raymond van Barneveld||beat||Phil Taylor||7||-||6|
|2006||Phil Taylor||beat||Peter Manley||7||-||0|
|2005||Phil Taylor||beat||Mark Dudbridge||7||-||4|
|2004||Phil Taylor||beat||Kevin Painter||7||-||6|
|2003||John Part||beat||Phil Taylor||7||-||6|
|2002||Phil Taylor||beat||Peter Manley||7||-||0|
|2001||Phil Taylor||beat||John Part||7||-||0|
|2000||Phil Taylor||beat||Dennis Priestley||7||-||3|
|1999||Phil Taylor||beat||Peter Manley||6||-||2|
|1998||Phil Taylor||beat||Dennis Priestley||6||-||0|
|1997||Phil Taylor||beat||Dennis Priestley||6||-||3|
|1996||Phil Taylor||beat||Dennis Priestley||6||-||4|
|1995||Phil Taylor||beat||Rod Harrington||6||-||2|
|1994||Dennis Priestley||beat||Phil Taylor||6||-||1|