Scott Waites will begin the defence of his Lakeside crown against either Craig Caldwell or Dennis Harbour, after the draw for the 2017 BDO World Darts Championship was made at the Lakeside Country Club on Saturday morning.
Waites won his second world title with a comprehensive victory over Jeff Smith twelve months ago, but the sixth seed faces a tough task to defend his crown. The Yorkshireman will either play Kiwi qualifier Craig Caldwell, or last year’s quarter-finalist Dennis Harbour in round one.
World number one Glen Durrant will begin his World Championship campaign against International Open winner Nick Kenny. ‘Duzza’ has enjoyed the best year of his career in 2016, winning nine ranking titles; although he’ll be desperate to add a maiden world title to his collection.
Three-time world champion Martin Adams faces either Ryan Joyce or Sweden’s Dennis Nilsson in round-one, whilst 2015 champion Scott Mitchell plays either Jimmy Hendriks, Roger Janssen or Mark McGrath.
World number three Danny Noppert will make his World Championship debut against either Jimmy Hendriks or Canada’s David Cameron, whilst fourth seed Jamie Hughes faces a difficult assignment against BDO veteran Martin Atkins, who is making his 12th World Championship appearance.
England classic winner Dean Reynolds will face former World Masters quarter-finalist Pip Blackwell in the first-round, whilst eighth seed Darius Labanauskas kicks off his campaign with a tie against former PDC tour-card holder Conan Whitehead.
Two-time Lakeside semi-finalist Wesley Harms meets either Poland’s Krzysztof Ratajski or his compatriot Willem Mandigers, as BDO World Trophy holder Darryl Fitton takes on debutant Wouter Vaes.
Mark McGeeney takes on James Hurrell in a repeat of their thrilling World Masters first-round tie, as twelfth seed Brian Dawson clashes with either Japan’s Seigo Asada, or last year’s runner-up Jeff Smith.
Thirteenth seed Jim Williams takes on three-time finalist Tony O’Shea in one of the ties of round-one, as 2016 Lakeside semi-finalist Richard Veenstra meets former Zuiderduin Masters winner Ross Montgomery.
Elsewhere, 2015 World Trophy winner Geert de Vos will play either his fellow Belgian Davy van Baelen or Australian star Raymond Smith, whilst sixteenth seed and former World Master Martin Phillips locks horns with Tom Sawyer or BDO stalwart Paul Hogan.
In the women’s section, ten-time world champion Trina Gulliver could begin the defence of her title against British classic winner Claire Brookin, whilst three-time world champion Anastasia Dobromyslova takes on World Trophy semi-finalist Rhian Griffiths
Third seed Aileen de Graaf will face former World Masters finalist Rachel Brooks in round-one, as two-time champion Lisa Ashton plays WDF Europe Cup winner Sharon Prins at the same stage.
Three-time finalist Deta Hedman will begin her assault for a maiden world title against the promising Casey Gallagher, who is still searching for her first win on the World Championship stage.
Former Zuiderduin Masters champion Fallon Sherrock faces Scotland’s Olive Byamukama, who came through Wednesday’s World Championship qualifiers. Scottish opener winner Lorraine Winstanley plays last year’s quarter-finalist Anca Ziljstra, whilst Australia’s Corrine Hammond clashes with Canadian qualifier Patricia Farrell.
The 40th staging of the BDO World Championship will take place at the Lakeside Country Club in Frimley Green, starting on January 7th 2017. However, Channel Four have replaced the BBC as the new terrestrial home of BDO Darts, and they will broadcast this year’s World Championships alongside BT Sport.