Seventh heaven as van Gerwen is crowned 2023 PDC Premier League champion
At The O2 in London on Thursday, Michael van Gerwen defeated Gerwyn Price 11-5 and won the Cazoo Premier League for a record-breaking seventh time.
On a thrilling night of competition in the nation’s capital, the Dutchman made history once more by defeating World Champion Michael Smith and table-topper Price to retain the prized crown.
Van Gerwen won his first Premier League championship at The O2 ten years ago, and his victory over Price in the championship match on Thursday allowed him to surpass Phil Taylor’s record of six titles.
“It feels amazing,” admitted Van Gerwen, who averaged 105 and converted three ton-plus finishes to scoop the £275,000 top prize.
“We all know Gerwyn Price is in fantastic form. Michael Smith had won three of the last four weeks and I had been questioned about my form, and today it motivated me.
“You always have to peak at the right moments, and when you’re at The O2 competing against Michael Smith and Gerwyn Price, you have to perform at your A-game.
“I think I played some fantastic darts today, and what more can I wish for, to win this trophy for a seventh time.
“I had to produce something special and I’m really glad I did. Everyone knows I had [injury] problems last week, and I worked really hard for this.
“I’m not done yet. I love what I do, and there’s more to come.”
The first five legs of Thursday’s showdown ended in throws, but in set six, Van Gerwen delivered the first critical blow with a superb 170 checkout to take a 4-2 lead.
The Dutch superstar refused to relent as he extended his advantage to 7-2, following up a 13-dart hold with an effortless 128 finish to continue his charge towards the title.
Price stemmed the rot in dramatic manner, throwing off a superb 161 on the bull before narrowing the deficit to 4-7 after Van Gerwen inexplicably missed four darts at a double.
However, after Price missed double 12 for 144 and 98 checkouts, Van Gerwen reclaimed his five-leg lead, and a stunning 150 checkout brought the reigning champion to the verge of victory.
Price had a chance to extend the match in leg 16, but he paid the price for missing two darts at tops and tens, and Van Gerwen took advantage to cap off a dominant performance.
“I couldn’t find anything, but that’s how it goes sometimes,” reflected Price, who was featuring in his maiden Premier League final.
“I felt like this is one that got away, because I’m playing some of the best darts I’ve ever played.
“I was missing some targets by such a long way, I wasn’t even close. I’m not sure what happened, but congratulations to Michael.”
Earlier that evening, Price defeated his World Cup teammate Jonny Clayton by averaging over 107, converting a spectacular 131 checkout to seal a decisive 10-2 victory.
Table-topper Price started the action on Thursday with an 11-dart hold and quickly built a 5-0 lead until 2021 champion Clayton made his first dart in leg six.
Price then increased his lead with three legs of 12, 14, and 11 darts in a row, before closing off a commanding performance with a magnificent 131 finish that included a pair of double 20s.
In the second semi-final, Van Gerwen triumphed 10-8 despite Smith’s late comeback, averaging 101 to set a new record for most Premier League final appearances.
Smith scored first with a brilliant 128 checkout, but Van Gerwen quickly took the lead with a brutal five-leg run that gave him a 6-2 advantage.
In the closing rounds, the World Champion countered with combinations totaling 114, 86, 91, and 123, but Van Gerwen’s better scoring ability allowed him to advance to a record-breaking eighth Premier League final.
Van Gerwen earned £305,000 overall from this year’s Premier League, with three weekly victories netting him a £30,000 extra in addition to the £275,000 top prize. He now has his sights set on winning the US Darts Masters in New York next week.
Price, however, took home £125,000 as the runner-up and an additional £40,000 in bonus prize money after astonishingly appearing in ten finals over the course of the 17 nights.
Smith’s £85,000 prize money increased to £125,000 thanks to his four nightly victories over the season, while Clayton won £105,000 for making the Play-Offs for the third straight year.
2023 Cazoo Premier League Play-Offs
Thursday May 25
The O2, London
Gerwyn Price 10-2 Jonny Clayton
Michael van Gerwen 10-8 Michael Smith
Michael van Gerwen 11-5 Gerwyn Price