The PDC Tour resumes this weekend with a five-day long Autumn Series in Niedernhausen and we have everything you need to know including the implications for World Grand Prix qualification.
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Following the conclusion of a dramatic Premier League regular season, it's now time for all PDC Tour Card holders to share the limelight again in the pursuit of titles, prize money and a step closer to the next big televised major.
Five daily Players Championship events will be staged at the H+ Hotel in Niedernhausen from Saturday September 12 to Wednesday September 16, with a grand total of £375,000 up for grabs.
The last time 128 players were able to battle it out in one place was during July's Summer Series in Milton Keynes and only the 32 qualifiers for the World Matchplay a week later - which obviously included the Premier League nine - have participated competitively since.
Gary Anderson is the highest profile player who hasn't made the trip to Germany and he won't compete in the World Series of Darts Finals in Austria either, but the likes of Michael van Gerwen, Peter Wright, Gerwyn Price, Glen Durrant and Nathan Aspinall will be present.
Here's all the key information including the format, latest rankings and implications for the World Grand Prix and Grand Slam of Darts spots, realistic prize money targets, Sky Bet odds, event winners of the season so far, a full entry list and details of how to watch.
As usual for Players Championship events, there will be a daily prize pot of £75,000 each day - making a grand total of £375,000 across the whole Autumn Series - and although they'll all be relishing the prospect of hitting doubles for dough again, the motivations for that cash will differ greatly depending on their respective ranking positions.
For the star names towards the very top of the PDC Order of Merit, it's all about adding more titles to their career tallies, strengthening their ranking positions and also finding top form ahead of next month's World Grand Prix.
But for many others below them, the burning focus will be trying to boost their hopes of qualification for the double-start major, which this year will be taking place behind closed doors in Coventry (October 6-12) rather than a raucous atmosphere in Dublin.
- Winner £10,000
- Runner-Up £6,000
- Semi Final £3,000
- Quarter Final £2,250
- Last 16 £1,500
- Last 32 £1,000
- Last 64 £500
- Last 128 £0
Obviously the maximum any player can win is £50,000 but just to give you a more realistic guide of the range of individual tallies that players will be gunning for, Peter Wright topped the Summer Series Order of Merit with £22,000, 10th-placed Nathan Aspinall bagged £7,750 and Jermaine Wattimena in 20th ended up with £5,000. There were 43 players who ended up with £1,000 or less including Adrian Lewis, Mervyn King, Luke Humphries and Jelle Klaasen - so it's not easy.
World Grand Prix qualification
The top 16 of the Order of Merit will qualify for the World Grand Prix, with those in the top eight being the seeded players at the Ricoh Arena. They will be joined in the draw by the top 16 not yet qualified players of the one-year Pro Tour Order of Merit.
The race to reach the double-start major is therefore gearing up for a pressurised finish and these five events will be crucial to determining which players outside the current world's top 16 will make it.
After the fifth and final tournament on Wednesday September 16, there will be just one more opportunity to earn a spot in Coventry and that's the German Darts Championship from September 25-27 in Hildesheim.
Although there is £140,000 on offer in that event - with a top prize of £25,000 and £10,000 for the runner-up - the field of 48 is considerably less and features all of the current top 16 apart from Gary Anderson as well as five others currently holding a World Grand Prix place via the Pro Tour Order of Merit.
So basically, these next five days are priceless albeit not completely decisive.
And, on top of all this, the player who tops a separate Autumn Series Order of Merit - which is made up of all the prize money won over these five tournaments only - will automatically qualify for the Grand Slam of Darts in Wolverhampton on November 14-22.
As we saw during the Summer Series when players were chasing World Matchplay spots, positions were changing on a daily basis, although as it turned out, only Ryan Joyce and Ricky Evans did enough to climb up from the wilderness and into the sport's second biggest major at the expense of Ryan Searle and Kim Huybrechts.
Joyce did it spectacularly by bagging his maiden PDC title in the second of the five events and although this highlighted just how dangerous the dark horses can be, the other tournaments were won by Michael van Gerwen (twice), James Wade and eventual Order of Merit winner Peter Wright.
PDC ORDER OF MERIT
As far as the current standings are concerned, the top 15 are pretty much guaranteed to be heading to the World Grand Prix via this list, and even if 16th placed Adrian Lewis is caught by those just below him before the cut-off on September 27, he'll still probably make it via the ProTour Order of Merit.
Even the top eight positions, who will all be awarded with a seeding at the double-start major, are seemingly locked in, with eighth-placed James Wade the best part of £35,000 better off than Gary Anderson, who won't be competing in the German Darts Championship, while the only feasible jostling for positions over the coming days could be between fourth-placed Michael Smith (£554,000) and Rob Cross (£539,000) in fifth.
PDC Order of Merit Top 20
- The top 16 at the cut off of September 27 will qualify and the top 8 will be seeded.
- Michael van Gerwen £1,510,250
- Peter Wright £897,000
- Gerwyn Price £781,250
- Michael Smith £554,000
- Rob Cross £539,000
- Nathan Aspinall £476,000
- Daryl Gurney £438,750
- James Wade £421,500
- Gary Anderson £388,250
- Dave Chisnall £365,750
- Dimitri Van den Bergh £335,750
- Ian White £325,500
- Glen Durrant £297,000
- Krzysztof Ratajski £272,750
- Mensur Suljovic £269,250
- Adrian Lewis £249,250
- Simon Whitlock £237,000
- Chris Dobey £223,000
- Jonny Clayton £221,750
- Stephen Bunting £219,500
PRO TOUR ORDER OF MERIT
As you'd expect, many of the top 16 on the PDC Order of Merit are flying high in the one-year ProTour list so I've removed them from the below list to make the qualification race look clearer.
The top five of Danny Noppert, Jose de Sousa, Brendan Dolan, Ryan Joyce and Gabriel Clemens will surely be there while it's seems highly unlikely that those from 6th to 10th, which include potential debutants Ryan Searle and Dirk van Duijvenbode, will miss out even though the prize money gaps well down this list aren't that big. While a handful of players can easily overtake them with one or two good runs, it's realistically asking a lot for at least seven to do so.
Devon Petersen, who was so unfortunately to miss out on a maiden World Matchplay spot after a superb Summer Series, holds the 16th spot as he eyes his first ever trip to the World Grand Prix and it's going to be a tense five days from anyone from 11th right down to around 50th as they'll all believe they can make it. Especially those who have got a spot at the German Darts Championship.
Chris Dobey has the same amount of money as Petersen and will be widely expected to climb into the qualification spots while Jeff Smith, who had just too much to do to reach the World Matchplay having only earned his maiden Tour Card in January, is just £500 further back and will also be competing at the belated second European Tour event of the season.
You could make a case for many outsiders but my 'one to watch' is Maik Kuivenhoven, who has a perfect 2-0 record over Michael van Gerwen since earning his Tour Card at qualifying school this year.
One of those came at the Summer Series, where he earned a total of £2,500 after an encouraging five days and a similar haul would shoot him right into contention.
Pro Tour Order of Merit: Excluding those on Main Order of Merit
- Based on the last 12 months of earnings in ProTour events (Players Championship and European Tour). The top 16 in this list on September 27 (after the Autumn Series and German Darts Championship) will qualify for the World Grand Prix.
- www.dartsrankings.com have live qualification tables to follow
- Players in bold have qualified for the German Darts Championship
- Danny Noppert £29,000
- Jose de Sousa £28,000
- Brendan Dolan £28.000
- Ryan Joyce £20,000
- Gabriel Clemens £19,500
- Jermaine Wattimena £19,000
- Ryan Searle £18,500
- Jamie Hughes £17,500
- Dirk van Duijvenbode £16,500
- Stephen Bunting £16,250
- Kim Huybrechts £14,750
- Jeffrey de Zwaan £14,250
- Joe Cullen £14,250
- Steve Beaton £14,000
- Devon Petersen £14,000
- Chris Dobey £13,000
- Jeff Smith £13,500
- Jonny Clayton £13,500
- Michael Mansell £11,750
- Martijn Kleermaker £11,750
- Keegan Brown £11,750
- Steve Lennon £11,500
- Mervyn King £11,500
- Jason Lowe £10,500
- Steve West £10,500
- Maik Kuivenhoven £10,500
- Vincent van der Voort £10,500
- John Henderson £10,250
- Darren Webster £10,000
- Ricky Evans £10,000
- Luke Humphries £10,000
- Simon Whitlock £9,500
- Madars Razma £9,000
- Luke Woodhouse £8,750
- Ross Smith £8,750
- Derk Telnekes £8,250
- Niels Zonneveld £8,000
- Wayne Jones £8,000
- Mike De Dekker £8,000
- William O'Connor £7,750
- Ron Meulenkamp £7,500
- Josh Payne £7,500
- Joe Murnan £7,500
- Kai Fan Leung £7,500
- Christian Bunse £7,000
- Benito van de Pas £7,000
- Justin Pipe £7,000
- Scott Baker £6,750
- Steve Brown £6,500
- Darius Labanauskas £6,500
Players from 51-128 who have also qualified for the German Darts Championship, where £140,000 will be up for grabs, are Adam Hunt, Darren Penhall, Steffen Siepmann, Alan Tabern, Ryan Murray, Scott Waites, Steve Brown, Simon Stevenson, Reece Robinson, Richard North, Max Hopp and Daniel Larsson. So don't rule those players out.
Format, draws and start times
Each day's play will commence at 1100 BST, with the 128 players initially drawn across 16 playing boards for the early rounds.
The 32 seeded players for day one will be based on the ProTour Order of Merit as it stands on September 11, with the last 52 weeks of prize money included. The seedings for events two to five will be based on that day's ProTour Order of Merit, with previous days' prize money included.
Matches from the first round through to the quarter-finals are the best of 11 legs, with the semi-finals being the best of 13 legs and the final being the best of 15 legs.
Betting odds on the Autumn Series
You can bet on the overall winner of each event while there's also in-play betting on the streamed matches.
You can expect the usual suspects to be at the top of the betting for every tournament but if big outsiders strike early then their prices for subsequent days will tumble.
How to watch
The five Players Championship events at the PDC Autumn Series from September 12-16 will be broadcast live through PDCTV, including coverage from two boards simultaneously. Subscribe to PDCTV via this link.
2020 season so far
Before the coronavirus brought the world to a standstill, there had been 10 ranked events, including the UK Open, eight Players Championship tournament and one European Tour event - the Belgian Darts Championship. The other two were the invitational Masters and the Premier League, which halted after six weeks.
Since the lockdown restrictions were lifted, darts led the way for returning sports with the PDC Summer Series, the World Matchplay and the recent conclusion to the Premier League, which were all obviously played behind closed doors. Here are a list of winners and if you click on each you get a report and results from each event, which should help you gage player form.
The Masters (PDC Major)
Premier League Darts (PDC Major)
- Defending champion: Michael van Gerwen
- Click for tournament dates, venues & standings: Feb 6-September 11
Players Championship 1 (ProTour)
- Final: Gary Anderson 8-4 Jeff Smith (Barnsley, February 8)
Players Championship 2 (ProTour)
- Final: Nathan Aspinall 8-3 Gerwyn Price (Barnsley, February 9)
Players Championship 3 (ProTour)
- Final: Ryan Searle 8-6 Michael van Gerwen (Wigan, February 15)
Players Championship 4 (ProTour)
- Final: Krzysztof Ratajski 8-7 Ian White (Wigan, February 16)
Players Championship 5 (ProTour)
- Final: Peter Wright 8-6 Gerwyn Price (Wigan, February 22)
Players Championship 6 (ProTour)
- Final: Gerwyn Price 8-7 Michael van Gerwen (Wigan, February 23)
Belgian Darts Championship (European Tour)
UK Open Finals (PDC Major)
- Final: Michael van Gerwen 11-9 Gerwyn Price
- CLICK HERE FOR LEG-BY-LEG BLOG
- Tournament Results: Minehead, March 6-8
Players Championship 7 (ProTour)
- Final: Nathan Aspinall 8-4 Brendan Dolan (Barnsley, March 14)
Players Championship 8 (ProTour)
- Final: Ian White 8-3 James Wade (Barnsley, March 15)
Players Championship 9 (ProTour)
- Final: Michael van Gerwen 8-7 Peter Wright (MK, July 8)
Players Championship 10 (ProTour)
- Final: Ryan Joyce 8-7 Dave Chisnall (MK, July 9)
Players Championship 11 (ProTour)
- Final: Michael van Gerwen 8-3 Jose De Sousa (MK, July 10)
Players Championship 12 (ProTour)
- Final: James Wade 8-2 Rob Cross (MK, July 11)
Players Championship 13 (ProTour)
- Final: Peter Wright 8-3 Gerwyn Price (MK, July 12)
World Matchplay (PDC Major)
- Final: Dimitri Van den Bergh 18-10 Gary Anderson
- CLICK HERE FOR LEG-BY-LEG BLOG
- Tournament Results: Marshall Arena, Milton Keynes, July 18-26
Premier League Darts (PDC Major)
PDC Autumn Series entries
Mike De Decker
Jose De Sousa
Jeffrey de Zwaan
Kai Fan Leung
Benito van de Pas
Dimitri Van den Bergh
Vincent van der Meer
Vincent van der Voort
Jitse van der Wal
Dirk van Duijvenbode
Michael van Gerwen
Related Darts Content
- 2020 World Grand Prix draw and schedule
- 2020 Premier League fixtures & results
- 2020 PDC event calendar & results
- 2020 World Darts Championship results
- 2019 PDC event results
- Sky Bet's darts odds
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