PDC World Matchplay
The PDC World Matchplay is the second biggest ranking event on the PDC calendar. For many of the players the first half of the season, it’s all about making sure they have enough ranking money to play in the famous old tournament at the iconic Winter Gardens in Blackpool.
The World Matchplay is one of the oldest PDC tournaments, having taken place since 1994. Since its inception, the World Matchplay has been held at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool and takes place over the course of a week in July each year. The tournament is one of the most popular on the darts calendar and considered by most to be the second biggest tournament PDC tournament, sitting only behind the World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace.
The World Matchplay was the last ever televised event that the great Jocky Wilson competed in back in 1995. The tournament initially saw players need to win by two clear legs to progress through to the next round, but that changed in 2013 when players would have to compete in a sudden-death leg if an additional six legs couldn’t separate the pair. In 2018, it was announced that the World Matchplay Trophy would be renamed to the Phil Taylor Trophy following his retirement from professional darts. Taylor was the most successful player in the competition’s history.
The PDC World Matchplay sees a total of five rounds of darts take place, with each round resulting in an increase in the number of legs that are played. The matches are amongst the longest in PDC tournaments, contributing to the position of it being the second biggest tournament in the sport due to its length and degree of difficulty. The increase goes as follows:
- First Round – Best of 19 Legs
- Second Round – Best of 21 Legs
- Quarter-Finals – Best of 35 Legs
- Semi-Finals – Best of 33 Legs
- Final – Best of 35 Legs
There are a total of 32 players that enter the World Matchplay every year. The first 16 players are selected by the PDC Order of Merit, while the remaining 16 are PDC ProTour Qualifiers. The top 16 players are all seeded within the tournament draw.
The World Matchplay Trophy is named the Phil Taylor Trophy and for good reason too given ‘The Power’s’ incredible record in the tournament. Taylor dominated the World Matchplay during his playing days, winning the tournament on 16 different occasions, having also made the final 17 times. Taylor’s 16 wins matches up incredibly favourably with the rest of the field who have 10 wins in the World Matchplay.
Michael van Gerwen and Rod Harrington are the only other two players to have more than one World Matchplay win to their name, with each of them winning the tournament twice. James Wade, Larry Butler, Peter Evison, Colin Lloyd, Gary Anderson and Rob Cross are the other winners of the PDC World Matchplay.
Taylor won five straight World Matchplay titles between 2000 and 2004, before then beating his own record for consecutive victories when winning a further seven in a row between 2008 and 2014. James Wade has finished as runner-up more than any other player in the World Matchplay, losing on five occasions in the final alongside his one victory in 2007.