PDC UK Open
The PDC UK Open is regarded as one of the hardest PDC tournaments to win, due to its unique format. Each round is done with a blind draw with the seeds getting no protection. This the one competition that throws up more shock than any other.
The UK Open is one of the major ranking darts tournaments held by the PDC each year since 2003. A total of 166 players compete in the multi-board event over eight stages, though the top 32 ranked PDC players don’t enter the tournament until the fourth round. The UK Open is annually held at the Butlins resort in Minehead and has done so since 2014. Previously, it was held at the Reebok Stadium in Bolton through June, but the change of venue has also resulted in a change of schedule to March.
The UK Open is considered by many to be the “FA Cup of darts”. That is due to the fact that the UK Open doesn’t take seedings into account, with the tournament’s fixtures determined by an open draw that could see the top two players in the world meet upon entry.
As previously mentioned, there are a total of 166 players entered into the PDC UK Open each year, with 16 of those entrants being amateur players. There are various qualifying tournaments that take place across the United Kingdom in the lead up to it taking place that is organised by Rileys. The tournament’s format is completed as follows:
- First round: The 16 Rileys qualifiers, 8 Challenge Tour qualifiers, 8 Development Tour qualifiers and Tour Card holders ranked 97–128 in the PDC Order of Merit.
- Second round: Players ranked 65–96 in the PDC Order of Merit join the 32 winners of the first round.
- Third round: Players ranked 33–64 join the 32 winners of the second round.
- Fourth round to final: Players ranked 1–32 in the PDC Order of Merit join the 32 winners of the third round.
The UK Open takes place over the course of three days, with the first four rounds happening on the Friday of the tournament. The first three rounds are all best of 11 leg games, while the fourth round is then a best of 19 legs. Saturday then features the fifth and sixth rounds of the tournament, which continue in the best of 19 legs format. Sunday begins with the best of 19 legs quarter-finals, before finishing with the best of 21 legs semi-finals and final.
Of the 18 UK Open tournaments that have taken place, 10 have been won by either Phil Taylor or Michael van Gerwen. Taylor has five UK Open victories to his name, while van Gerwen has three wins. Raymond van Barneveld and James Wade are the only other two players that have won more than one UK Open title, with the pair having two titles in their respective careers. Peter Wright, Gary Anderson, Nathan Aspinall, Adrian Lewis, Roland Scholten and Robert Thornton are the other UK Open winners. Gerwyn Price has the most UK Open Final appearances (2) without a tournament win to his name.