Gerwyn Price goes into the 2022 Professional Darts Association World Championships as the reigning champion, and on the back of winning the Grand Slam of Darts for a third time. Price is looking to confirm his place as one of the modern era’s best players.
Price, from Markham in Wales, will be under more pressure to perform this year with fans being allowed back into Alexandra Palace after last year’s tournament being played behind closed doors due to the global pandemic. The Iceman is often the target of heckling from the fans, this shouldn’t bother him though as he’s mentioned before it spurs him on.
Wales has produced some great darts players over the years, with Leighton Rees becoming the first ever professional British Darts Organisation (BDO) world champion back in 1978 when he beat John Lowe in a best of 21 legs final. Rees was that much of a local hero, he had a road named after him in his home village of Ynysbwl, Leighton Rees Close.
The game has changed in all respects since this final with the World Darts Council (WDC) being formed after a dispute with the way the professional game was heading under the stewardship of the BDO.
The Professional Darts Association (PDC) was introduced in 1997 after a legal battle between the BDO and WDC, Sky Sports bought the broadcasting rights and the sport transformed with Barry Hearn and Matchroom Sports giving it the razmataz that you now associate with professional darts.
Phil Taylor, who is widely regarding as one of the best players the sport has ever seen, won 16 world championships, something that no other player has even come close to since he retired from the sport in 2018. Taylor was one of the founding members of the PDC back in 1993, making the move from the BDO to the new code.
Price will go into this as the favourite as the current world number 1, but there are other players to watch out for in what a fantastic tournament for all darts enthusiasts.
Who to look out for?
Jonny Clayton, Price’s partner in the World Cup of Darts tournament, will go into this championship on the back of a very successful year picking up 4 titles in 2021. A fellow Welshman and a crowd favourite could give Price a run for his money.
Peter Wright, known for his extravagant clothes and colourful hair, must be regarded as one of the biggest threats to Price retaining the title. The Scot, nicknamed “Snakebite”, will be no push over in this tournament after facing Price in the Grand Slam final this year.
Dimitri Van Den Berg, from Antwerp in Belgium, is one of the younger competitors at the tournament, could well be regarded as an outsider with him showing potential of gaining that first major win. In 2021 he managed 2 final appearances in the World Matchplay and World Series of Darts, losing to Peter Wright and Jonny Clayton respectively.
Michael Van Gerwen will be looking to gain the World Number 1 ranking which he had held since 2014 back from Price by winning this championship, which would be his fourth victory if successful. MVG as he is known to the fans, has been around the PDC circuit for what would seem a very long time but with only being 32 years old, he has experience well beyond his years.