Michael van Gerwen and Gary Anderson shared the spoils as they were crowned joint PDC players of the year, as the PDC’s Annual Awards Dinner took place at the Dorchester on Thursday evening.
van Gerwen, who won a staggering 18 titles in 2015, and Anderson, who retained his World Championship crown, whilst also winning the Premier League for the second time, could not be separated, and after an unprecedented split decision they shared the trophy.
This was one of three awards collected by van Gerwen in London last night. The world number one also scooped the ‘PDPA Players’ Player of the Year’ award, as well as the ‘Pro Tour Player of the Year’ title.
Michael performed superbly well throughout the year, winning the Unibet Masters, Coral UK Open, World Matchplay, European Championships, Grand Slam of Darts, World Series of Darts Finals and the Players Championship Finals, to complete his stunning haul of major PDC titles.
Van Gerwen’s Pro Tour form in 2015 was also astonishing; the ‘Green Machine’ won five European Tour events, two Players Championship events and three UK Open qualifiers in the calendar year. He amassed an incredible £215,000 on the Pro Tour Order of Merit, which is over double the amount gained by Michael Smith in second spot.
Elsewhere, back-to-back world champion Gary Anderson secured further silverware at the Dorchester. Along with his joint Player of the Year award, the ‘Flying Scotsman’ was also voted as fans player of the year, in an award voted for by the darting public. Gary received 38% of the vote, to scoop this title for the second consecutive year.
Robert Thornton’s memorable 5-4 victory over Michael van Gerwen in the World Grand-Prix final was voted as televised performance of the year. ‘The Thorn’ defied a staggering 18 maximums from MvG to prevail in a thriller, which sealed the second TV major of Thornton’s career.
However, somewhat surprisingly, Raymond van Barneveld’s epic last 16 victory over MvG at last month’s World Championships wasn’t even nominated for televised performance of 2015. Van Gerwen and Anderson were among the nominees for this award, with James Wade’s World Matchplay win over Phil Taylor completing the four choices.
Former Lakeside finalist Alan Norris was awarded the ‘Best Newcomer’ title; after switching from the BDO last year, Norris won his maiden PDC Players Championship event in Dublin, before reaching the World Championship quarter-finals last month.
Norris defeated Robert Thornton, Joe Murnan and Mark Webster to reach the last eight, where he was edged out by Jelle Klaasen in a last-set decider. In that quarter-final clash, Norris wired D12 for a nine-darter, but he did record two 9-darters on the floor throughout 2015.
‘Chuck’ also reached the last 16 of the Players Championship Finals, and following the conclusion of the worlds, he is currently ranked 37th in the world. With no prize money to defend in 2016, he’s a virtual certainty to break into the world’s top 32 over the next twelve months.
World number eight Michael Smith was named ‘PDC Young Player of the Year’ after enjoying a magnificent 2015. ‘Bully-Boy’ won two European Tour events, beating the Dutch duo of Michael van Gerwen and Benito van de Pas in the respective finals. This saw Smith finish second on the final Pro Tour Order of Merit.
Smith also made a major breakthrough in major TV events last year. He reached his maiden TV semi-final at the Grand Slam, before reaching the World Championship quarter-finals. The St Helen’s star has been rewarded for his consistency with a Premier League wildcard, and he’ll make his PL debut in Leeds on February 4th.
Jamie Lewis, who reached his maiden TV major quarter-final, was also nominated for the young player award, alongside 23-year-old Dutch star Benito van de Pas, and World-Youth champion Max Hopp.
In addition to this, players who landed a nine-dart finish on the PDC circuit during the year were inducted into the PDC Nine-Dart Club and presented with a commemorative pin badge.
There were a record 30 nine-darters hit on the PDC circuit during 2015, and Phil Taylor, Dave Chisnall and Gary Anderson received gold badges for their respective televised nine-dart finishes. A further 23 players produced nine-darters on the Pro Tour, and were subsequently presented with silver badges to recognise their achievements.
2016 PDC Annual Awards Dinner
Best ProTour Player: Michael van Gerwen
Televised Performance of the Year: Robert Thornton (WGP final v Michael van Gerwen)
Best Newcomer: Alan Norris
PDC Fans’ Player of the Year: Gary Anderson
PDPA Players’ Player of the Year: Michael van Gerwen
PDC Young Player of the Year: Michael Smith
PDC Player of the Year: Michael van Gerwen & Gary Anderson
Gold Pin Badges (Televised Nine-Darter): Phil Taylor, Dave Chisnall, Gary Anderson
Silver Pin Badges (Non-Televised Nine-Darter): Alan Norris (x2), Dyson Parody, Andrew Gilding, Simon Whitlock, Ian White (x2), Kyle Anderson, Nathan Derry, Jeffrey De Zwaan, Cristo Reyes (x2), Darren Johnson, Benito van de Pas, Matt Dicken, Dirk van Duijvenbode, Devon Petersen, James Wade, Peter Wright, Max Hopp, Magnus Caris, Simon Preston, Kim Huybrechts, Jamie Lewis, Michael van Gerwen, Phil Taylor.