Five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld insisted that he will compete in every single tournament he can next year to move up the world rankings. The Dutchman had scaled down his Pro Tour commitments earlier this year, but confirmed with his fans via social media that this won’t be the case next year.
Van Barneveld took a six-month hiatus from the Pro Tour in March but played the final seven Players Championship events of the year as he successfully qualified for next month’s Players Championship Finals in Minehead.
He also played in just the one European Tour event this year as he wanted to retain his focus and energy for major TV tournaments, although with players around him picking up regular prize money from competing in Pro Tour events, a different philosophy has been adopted.
As of September this year, Van Barneveld and his management team decided he should compete in every event he can, as he seeks to regain his place in the world’s top eight. Raymond confirmed these plans to his fans via his official twitter account on Tuesday afternoon:
However, it’s still been a busy year for the 49-year-old. Van Barneveld competed in his eleventh successive Premier League campaign this year, and also featured in all six World Series events, held in Dubai, Auckland, Shanghai, Tokyo, Sydney and Perth; reaching the semi-finals in both Auckland and Perth.
However, for Barney the attention now turns to a defining point of the season, with four major TV events taking place over the next two months. The Dutchman is currently ranked 14th on the PDC Order of Merit having reached the World Grand Prix semi-finals last month, and he’ll be hoping to maintain his good run of form.
“The second half of the year is always the big events; Ireland (World Grand Prix), Wolverhampton (Grand Slam of Darts) and then the big one of course; The World Championships. As well as that there is the Players Championship Finals and The World Series Finals, so a lot of goals. I hope to win one or two of them.”
Van Barneveld’s last major TV title came back in May 2014, when he defeated Phil Taylor and Michael van Gerwen on the same night to win his first ever Premier League title, and the Dutchman appears to relish the underdog tag.
“It was two years ago in the Premier League. No-one thought that I could win it, but I still did it. I had a good run last year in the World Championships; beat Michael van Gerwen in the third-round and made it to the semi-finals, so the World Championship, the World Cup and of course the Premier League means more to me than any other competition.”
However, Barney’s ultimate ambition is to add a sixth World Championship crown to his collection. The Dutchman has an impressive recent record at Ally Pally, having reached the semi-finals in three of the last four years.
However, he acknowledges that everything needs to click for him to claim a sixth World Championship title. Van Barneveld added: “One more World Championship? That would be great. I still believe I have a sixth one in me, but I have to get in shape!”
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC