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World Matchplay Darts History of the Event


World Matchplay Darts

World Matchplay Darts History

The World Matchplay is the second longest-running event in the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) calendar of events. Since 1994, the event has been held in the Empress Ballroom at the Winter Gardens, Blackpool, England and has been a Mecca venue for dart fans. However, the event moved away from the Winter Gardens for one year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2020 Matchplay was played behind closed doors at the Marshall Arena, Milton Keynes.

Featuring the top 32 players in the world, the first Matchplay was held under the World Darts Council (WDC), the forerunner to PDC and was won by Larry Buttler from the USA. He beat Dennis Prestley 16-12. Prestley and his biggest rival, Phil Taylor, would have been the tournament favourites. Prestley won the World Darts Council (WDC) (PDC) World Darts Championships title in the same year, beating Taylor to the first World Title event held under the new organisation, which Taylor was to dominate for nearly two decades.

The Matchplay is played in a straight-leg format, not a set format like the World Championships.

From 1994 to 2012, matches at the World Matchplay had to be won by two clear legs. The first round, for example, was usually played over the first to 10 legs, but if the score reached 9–9, play continued until either player gained a two-leg lead. However, from the 2013 World Matchplay, a sudden death leg came into play if a two-leg lead hadn't been achieved after six extra legs, i.e., the score reached 12-12.

The Matchplay is one of the big three or 'Triple Crown' events, with the others being the World Darts Championships and the Premier League. Only a handful of players have won all three events: Phil Taylor, Michael van Gerwen, and Gary Anderson. Taylor was the only player to win all three in the same competitive year.


Significant Achievements

Phil Taylor has been the most successful player to date, winning the World Matchplay title sixteen times. Dennis Prestley was runner-up for the first three events, losing to Larry Butler (1994), Phil Taylor (1995), and Peter Evison (1996)

As of 2018, the PDC renamed the World Matchplay Trophy the 'Phil Taylor Trophy' in honour of the sixteen-time champion after he announced his retirement from the PDC Darts circuit. Other dart trophies have also been renamed in honour of players and one notable commentator.

The World Darts Champion trophy is also known as the Sid Waddel Trophy, and the Grand Slam of Darts, which initially featured BDO and PDC Players, is known as the Eric Bristow Trophy.

Although Phil returned to the darts in 2022 to play in the World Senior Darts Tour (WSDT), he said that he would fully retire from the sport at the end of the 2024 WSDT.

Besides the World Darts Championships, players and fans hold the Matchplay in the highest esteem.

Tickets for this event tend to sell out fast as fans make the weeklong event a holiday and take in some of Blackpool's many features, notably the piers, restaurants and Pleasure Beach Theme Park.

Dart fans can obtain Priority ticket sales if they are annual subscribers to PDC.TV.


World Matchplay Women's Event

Following the introduction of the PDC Women's Series in 2022, the PDC introduced a Women's Matchplay event. The top eight players from a 12-month order of merit gain a place in the Women's Matchplay.

The Women's Series also allows players to qualify for the World Darts Championships and the Grand Slam of Darts. The top two by order of merit at the cut-off times qualify for these events.




PDC PDC World Matchplay Past Winners








Nathan Aspinall 18 - 6 Jonny Clayton
Michael van Gerwen 18 - 14 Gerwyn Price
Peter Wright 18 - 9 Dimitri van den Bergh
Dimitri van den Bergh 18 - 10 Gary Anderson
Rob Cross 18 - 13 Michael Smith
Gary Anderson 21 - 19 Mensur Suljović
Phil Taylor 18 - 8 Peter Wright
Michael van Gerwen 18 - 10 Phil Taylor
Michael van Gerwen 18 - 12 James Wade
Phil Taylor  18 - 9 Michael van Gerwen
Phil Taylor  18 - 13 Adrian Lewis
Phil Taylor  18 - 15 James Wade
Phil Taylor  18 - 8 James Wade
Phil Taylor  18 - 12 Raymond van Barneveld
Phil Taylor 18 - 4 Terry Jenkins
Phil Taylor 18 - 9 James Wade
James Wade 18 - 7 Terry Jenkins
Phil Taylor  18 - 11 James Wade
Colin Lloyd 18 - 12 John Part
Phil Taylor  18 - 8 Mark Dudbridge
Phil Taylor 18 - 12 Wayne Mardle
Phil Taylor  18 - 16 John Part
Phil Taylor 18 - 10 Richie Burnett
Phil Taylor  18 - 12 Alan Warriner 
Rod Harrington  19 - 17 Peter Manley
Rod Harrington 18 - 17 Ronnie Baxter
Phil Taylor 16 - 11 Alan Warriner
Peter Evison 16 - 14 Dennis Priestley
Phil Taylor  16 - 11 Dennis Priestley
Larry Butler 16 - 12 Dennis Priestley

PDC PDC World Matchplay Womens Event Past Winners







Beau Greaves 6 - 1 Mikuru Suzuki
Fallon Sherrock 6 - 3 Aileen de Graaf







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