The Pro Tour
The PDC Pro Tour is the bread and butter of any player in the PDC. Floor tournaments played behind closed doors that the ranking are build from.
The PDC Pro Tour is a series of darts tournaments organised annually by the PDC. The Pro Tour events are unique in that they are non-televised events and they comprise Professional Dart Players Association (PDPA) Players Championships, UK Open qualifiers and European Tour events.
The PDC began operating a Tour Card system in 2011, with there being a total of 128 players awarded Tour Cards every year. These allow players to participate in all Players Championship and UK Open qualifiers. There has been a particular increase of Players Championship events over recent years, all of which see players aim to qualify for the Players Championship Finals. These events are known within the sport as floor tournaments, with multiple boards featuring games taking place at one time.
As of today, the PDC awards players Tour Cards through the following requirements:
- Top 64 players from the PDC Order of Merit after the World Championship (having competed in at least ten events)
- Tour Card holders from previous year’s Qualifying School
- Four tour card holders from previous year’s invitations (PDC Challenge Tour & PDC Development Tour)
- Two highest qualifiers from the PDC Challenge Tour, a series of tournaments for non-Tour Card holders
- Two highest qualifiers from the PDC Development Tour, a series of tournaments for youth players
- At least 16 qualifiers from a four-day Qualifying School (more places will be awarded via this method if not all the above spaces are filled)
PDPA (Professional Dart Players Association) players can only enter Pro Tour tournaments through the PDC’s online entry system. Those who are not a PDPA player must submit their entries through the local event organiser.
UK Players Championship events feature a 128-player draw, but those events which feature fewer than 128 entries will see byes awarded to players via their seeding. Seedings for these events are decided by the one-year rolling Players Championship Order of Merit, which is determined by the prize money won in Players Championships events over the 12 months before that event. Tour Card holders must pay a £100 entry fee to all Players Championship events.
Prize money won by players in the Pro Tour also contributes directly to their overall ranking in the PDC Order of Merit, which decides seedings in a number of PDC ranking tournaments. Players can also earn automatic qualifying places in major tournaments such as the World Championship, World Matchplay and World Grand Prix through their prize money earned. As such, players performances in events on the Pro Tour can have a direct correlation on their success in the televised ranking events.
Players win the following amount of prize money for their success in Pro Tour events:
- Winner – £10,000
- Runner-Up – £6,000
- Semi-Finals – £3,000
- Quarter-Finals – £2,250
- Last 16 – £1,500
- Last 32 – £1,000
- Last 64 – £500
In the history of PDC Pro Tour events, no player has won more titles than Michael van Gerwen, who has 75 to his name. He sits just above Phil Taylor in the list of Pro Tour victories, who won 70 Pro Tour tournaments during his esteemed career, while Gary Anderson sits in third place with 30 victories.