Michael van Gerwen will begin the defence of his World Grand Prix title against John Henderson, whilst two-time world champion Gary Anderson will take on debutant Richard North, after the draw for next month’s tournament was made this morning.
The draw for October’s double-start tournament in Dublin was broadcast live on the PDC’s official Facebook page, and three-time Grand Prix winner Van Gerwen will begin his assault for a fourth title on Irish soil against Scottish star John Henderson, who reached the quarter-finals back in 2011.
Two-time world champion Gary Anderson kicks off his campaign against Grand Prix debutant Richard North, who has performed superbly since winning his PDC Tour card in January. ‘The Flying Scotsman’ was beaten in last year’s final by Van Gerwen, but he’ll be desperate to go one step further this time around.
UK Open champion Peter Wright faces a difficult first-round assignment against former Lakeside world champion Stephen Bunting, whilst fourth seed Adrian Lewis locks horns with an in-form Daryl Gurney, who has reached the U.S Masters final and World Matchplay semi-finals over recent months.
Dave Chisnall and Jelle Klaasen will collide in an all-Premier League clash, whilst sixth seed Mensur Suljovic plays world number fourteen Ian White. Another enthralling first-round tie sees seventh seed Michael Smith take on UK Open finalist Gerwyn Price.
Five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld faces a tough first-round tie against recent Auckland Darts Masters winner Kyle Anderson. Van Barneveld is seeded eighth after Phil Taylor opted to withdraw from the event, and the winner of this clash will take on either Steve Beaton or Rob Cross in round-two.
Two-time Grand Prix winner James Wade meets Steve West in round-one, after West defeated Phil Taylor at this stage twelve months ago. ‘The Machine’ has slipped outside the world’s top ten for the first time in over a decade, and will play either Suljovic or White in the last 16 if he overcomes the Waltham Abbey ace.
2015 World Grand Prix champion Robert Thornton takes on Belgian star Kim Huybrechts in another stand-out first-round tie. Thornton only qualified for this year’s tournament after Taylor’s withdrawal, so he’ll be aiming to capitalise on his good fortune in Dublin.
Two-time world finalist Simon Whitlock plays former Lakeside world champion Christian Kist, whilst 2012 finalist Mervyn King faces Ronny Huybrechts, who qualified for this event after thrashing Peter Wright in last weekend’s German Darts Grand Prix.
Last year’s quarter-finalist Benito van de Pas clashes with Spanish star Cristo Reyes, as Alan Norris meets 2013 semi-finalist Justin Pipe. The other remaining first-round tie sees Joe Cullen take on former Players Championship semi-finalist Darren Webster, with the winner set to face either Lewis or Gurney in round-two.
The tournament gets underway live on Sky Sports on October 1st and the schedule of play will be confirmed in the coming days. The full draw and tournament bracket can be viewed below.
Unibet World Grand Prix
Michael van Gerwen (1) v John Henderson
Alan Norris v Justin Pipe
Raymond van Barneveld (8) v Kyle Anderson
Steve Beaton v Rob Cross
Dave Chisnall (5) v Jelle Klaasen
Robert Thornton v Kim Huybrechts
Adrian Lewis (4) v Daryl Gurney
Joe Cullen v Darren Webster
Gary Anderson (2) v Richard North
Simon Whitlock v Christian Kist
Michael Smith (7) v Gerwyn Price
Benito van de Pas v Cristo Reyes
Mensur Suljovic (6) v Ian White
Steve West v James Wade
Peter Wright (3) v Stephen Bunting
Mervyn King v Ronny Huybrechts