Michael van Gerwen
Michael van Gerwen is the man to beat at Alexandra Palace after powering to his maiden World Championship success last January.
The Dutchman was beaten in the 2013 World Championship decider against Phil Taylor, but he exacted revenge later that year when he defeated 'The Power' in the Premier League final and followed that up with victories at the Dubai Masters and Players Championship.
- Date of birth: 25.04.89
- Birthplace: Boxtel (Netherlands)
- Nickname: Mighty Mike
- Major titles: World Championship (2014), World Masters (2006), World Grand Prix (2012, 2014), Premier League (2013), Players Championship (2013), Dubai Masters (2013, 2014), Singapore Masters (2014)
- World Championship best: Winner (once)
- Walk-on music: Seven Nation Army
- PDC Order of Merit: 1
Van Gerwen continued that fine run of form at the World Championship as he stormed to his first title, overcoming big names such as Gary Anderson and Mark Webster, and recording a resounding 6-0 success over Adrian Lewis at the semi-final stage.
Van Gerwen capped off an amazing tournament by averaging over 100 in his 7-4 final victory over Peter Wright.
'Mighty Mike', who burst to the world's attention when he became the youngest player in history (aged just 17) to win a darts major at the (BDO) World Masters in 2006, has since added to his trophy collection with victories at the World Matchplay, World Grand Prix, European Championship, and overseas titles in Dubai and Singapore.
Van Gerwen’s fast throwing, heavy scoring and adrenaline-filled celebrations has thrilled crowds and television audiences across the globe.
The 25-year-old hasn’t been entirely happy with his form of late, and suffered a shock quarter-final exit at the Grand Slam of Darts in November, but should he return to his brilliant best at Alexandra Palace, it will take an exceptional performance to prevent him from retaining his crown.