Gary Anderson will begin the defence of his World Championship title against PDPA qualifier Mark Frost, whilst world number one Michael van Gerwen will face the winner of the preliminary clash between Ross Snook and Kim Viljanen, after the draw for the 2017 PDC World Championship was made live on Sky Sports News on Monday afternoon.
Gary Anderson will go in search of a third consecutive World Championship crown when he takes on Mark Frost, who will make his debut at the Alexandra Palace after winning Monday’s PDPA qualifier at the Robin Park Tennis Centre in Wigan.
Michael van Gerwen begins his assault for a second world title against either Canada’s Ross Snook, or Kim Viljanen, who will be making his third successive Ally Pally appearance. MvG has won a staggering 25 titles in 2016-although he’s under significant pressure to crown a wonderful year by winning the biggest title of all.
Sixteen-time world champion Phil Taylor could face John Bowles in round-one, after ‘The Bulldog’ secured qualification for this year’s event after coming through Monday’s PDPA qualifier. Taylor could also face decorated Australian ace David Platt, as ‘The Power’ goes in search of his first World Championship crown since 2013.
Five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld will face former Lakeside semi-finalist Robbie Green in arguably the tie of the round. Van Barneveld has reached the semi-finals at Ally Pally in three of the last four years, whilst Green is in fine form; having reached the last eight at last weekend’s Players Championship Finals.
Two-time world champion Adrian Lewis will take on Swedish veteran Magnus Caris in the first-round. ‘Jackpot’ has endured a difficult run of form over recent months, slipping to fifth in the world. However, the Stoke-on-Trent ace will be hoping to replicate the type of form which saw him reach last year’s final.
World number three Peter Wright will meet the winner of the preliminary round-tie between Jerry Hendriks and the experienced Kiwi Warren Parry. Snakebite reached the final at Ally Pally back in 2014 and is in magnificent form, having reached the semi-finals or better in his last four TV tournaments.
Eight-time major winner James Wade begins his search for a maiden World Championship crown against Ronny Huybrechts. ‘The Rebel’ reached the final of a Players Championship event in October and will provide a stern test for Wade, who arguably remains the greatest player never to have won a world title.
Dave Chisnall will take on exciting Austrian youngster Rowby-John Rodriguez in a repeat of last year’s first-round, whilst Mensur Suljovic will play Ron Meulenkamp. Meulenkamp shocked Gary Anderson in last weekend’s Players Championship Finals, whilst Suljovic will be hoping to go beyond the last 16 at Ally Pally for the first time.
Former World Grand Prix champion Robert Thornton plays the winner of the preliminary showdown between Zoran Lerchbacher and PDPA qualifier Simon Stevenson, whilst tenth seed Jelle Klaasen takes on his compatriot Jeffrey de Graaf.
Michael Smith will be hoping to return to form when he takes on ‘Rapid’ Ricky Evans in the last 64. Smith, a quarter-finalist in last year’s World Championship, has endured a tumultuous few months on the circuit, whilst Evans will be aiming to repeat the heroics which saw him stun Simon Whitlock at Ally Pally twelve months ago.
Another stand-out first-round tie sees 13th seed Kim Huybrechts meet former BDO world number one James Wilson. The pair clashed in October’s European Championship and Wilson prevailed on that occasion, although ‘The Hurricane’ will be seeking revenge next month.
Ian White will lock horns with either Kevin Simm or Gilbert Ulang in round-one. Simm came through Monday’s PDPA qualifier, whilst Ulang sealed his spot by triumphing in the Philippines’ qualifier held in October.
Three-time Players Championship winner Benito van de Pas will kick off his campaign with a tie against either Tengku Shah or Masimo Chino, whilst sixteenth seed and former Lakeside world champion Stephen Bunting faces a tough test against Players Championship Finals semi-finalist Darren Webster.
Former world finalist Simon Whitlock will aim to record his first win at the Alexandra Palace since 2014 when he faces either Russian qualifier Boris Koltsov or Germany’s Dragutin Horvat. Elsewhere, nine-time major finalist Terry Jenkins begins potentially his last World Championship campaign against talented youngster Josh Payne.
Gerwyn Price will take on his fellow countryman Jonny Clayton in an intriguing first-round tussle, whilst 20th seed Vincent van der Voort will clash with 2015 World-Youth champion Max Hopp.
Last year’s quarter-finalist Alan Norris takes on Greek number one John Michael, whilst 22nd seed and former Lakeside finalist Mervyn King will do battle with the in-form Steve West.
Former World Grand Prix finalist Brendan Dolan takes on 2012 Lakeside world champion Christian Kist, as Dolan’s Northern Irish compatriot Daryl Gurney meets quick-fire Dutchman Jermaine Wattimena.
Former Lakeside world champion Mark Webster meets Bolton’s Joe Murnan, whilst 26th seed Justin Pipe plays recent Grand-Slam quarter-finalist Chris Dobey. Elsewhere, 1996 world champ Steve Beaton takes on the enigmatic South African star Devon Petersen in one of the ties of the round.
Joe Cullen could face new World-Youth champion Corey Cadby in round-one, if the talented Australian can defeat China’s Qiang Sun in the preliminary round. Jamie Caven meets 2004 world finalist Kevin Painter, whilst 30th seed Jamie Lewis takes on the experienced Northern Irishman Mick McGowan.
John Henderson faces former UK Open semi-finalist Andrew Gilding, with the reward for the victor being a potential second-round tie against world champion Gary Anderson. Finally, Spanish star Cristo Reyes locks horns with Belgian hotshot Dimitri van den Bergh, with a probable clash against Michael van Gerwen awaiting the winner.
The full draw and tournament bracket for the 2017 World Championships can be viewed below, and the schedule of play will be announced in the coming days.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC
2016/2017 William Hill World Darts Championship
|1||Michael van Gerwen (Netherlands)||V||Ross Snook/Kim Viljanen|
|32||Cristo Reyes (Spain)||V||Dimitri Van den Bergh|
|16||Stephen Bunting (England)||V||Darren Webster|
|17||Simon Whitlock (Australia)||V||Boris Koltsov/Dragutin Horvat|
|8||Mensur Suljovic (Austria)||V||Ron Meulenkamp|
|25||Mark Webster (Wales)||V||Joe Murnan|
|9||Robert Thornton (Scotland)||V||Zoran Lerchbacher/Simon Stevenson|
|24||Daryl Gurney (Northern Ireland)||V||Jermaine Wattimena|
|5||Adrian Lewis (England)||V||Magnus Caris|
|28||Joe Cullen (England)||V||Qiang Sun/Corey Cadby|
|12||Raymond van Barneveld (Netherlands)||V||Robbie Green|
|21||Alan Norris (England)||V||John Michael|
|4||Phil Taylor (England)||V||John Bowles/David Platt|
|29||Jamie Caven (England)||V||Kevin Painter|
|13||Kim Huybrechts (Belgium)||V||James Wilson|
|20||Vincent van der Voort (Netherlands)||V||Max Hopp|
|2||Gary Anderson (Scotland)||V||Mark Frost|
|31||John Henderson (Scotland)||V||Andrew Gilding|
|15||Benito van de Pas (Netherlands)||V||Tengku Shah/Masumi Chino|
|18||Terry Jenkins (England)||V||Josh Payne|
|7||Dave Chisnall (England)||V||Rowby-John Rodriguez|
|26||Justin Pipe (England)||V||Chris Dobey|
|10||Jelle Klaasen (Netherlands)||V||Jeffrey de Graaf|
|23||Brendan Dolan (Northern Ireland)||V||Christian Kist|
|6||James Wade (England)||V||Ronny Huybrechts|
|27||Steve Beaton (England)||V||Devon Petersen|
|11||Michael Smith (England)||V||Ricky Evans|
|22||Mervyn King (England)||V||Steve West|
|3||Peter Wright (Scotland)||V||Jerry Hendriks/Warren Parry|
|30||Jamie Lewis (Wales)||V||Mick McGowan|
|14||Ian White (England)||V||Kevin Simm/Gilbert Ulang|
|19||Gerwyn Price (Wales)||V||Jonny Clayton|