Michael van Gerwen will begin the defence of his Grand Slam of Darts title against Rob Cross, Joe Murnan and Ross Montgomery, whilst Peter Wright has been handed the group of death, following the draw for the Group Stage of the cross-code tournament which took place today.
The Grand Slam of Darts pits together players from both the PDC and BDO systems to compete across nine days of action at the Wolverhampton Civic Hall, live on Sky Sports.
Van Gerwen is bidding to claim a third successive Grand Slam of Darts triumph this year, and the world number one heads Group A as the top seed.
‘Mighty Mike’ will begin his title defence against BDO Scottish star Ross Montgomery, who is making his debut in the unique cross-code event. Van Gerwen will also take on two other debutants in the round-robin phase; Bolton star Joe Murnan and European Championship finalist Rob Cross- who lost out to MvG in Hasselt a fortnight ago.
Nevertheless, world number two Peter Wright has been pitted in arguably the toughest of all eight groups. The UK Open champion will take on former Lakeside finalist Alan Norris, reigning World-Youth champion Corey Cadby, whilst he will begin his campaign against reigning BDO world champion Glen Durrant in Group E.
Six-time Grand Slam winner Phil Taylor, seeded fifth for this year’s event, will begin his Wolverhampton swansong with a tie against BDO World Trophy winner Peter Machin. ‘The Power’ has also been drawn in Group C against two-time Grand Slam finalist James Wade and Robbie Green, who came through yesterday’s qualifier to seal his spot.
2012 Grand Slam champion Raymond van Barneveld is joined in Group B by UK Open finalist Gerwyn Price, Irish qualifier Steve Lennon and BDO number four Jamie Hughes. ‘Yozza’, from Tipton, is competing in his local tournament for the second consecutive year and will be aiming to better last year’s last 16 showing.
Two-time world champion Gary Anderson kicks off his Grand Slam campaign against his compatriot Cameron Menzies, the winner of this year’s BDO Scottish Open. ‘The Flying Scotsman’ is also pitted alongside former world finalist Simon Whitlock and World-Youth finalist Berry van Peer in Group H.
World Grand Prix champion Daryl Gurney- making his Grand Slam debut as fourth seed, heads an interesting looking Group D containing Darren Webster, 2015 quarter-finalist Mark Webster and Dutch ace Danny Noppert- who reached the last 16 on his debut last year before going on to reach the BDO World Championship final.
Champions League of Darts winner Mensur Suljovic will be aiming to improve on last year’s showing as he heads Group G. The Austrian failed to make it out of the group stages twelve months ago, but this time around he’ll face 2015 semi-finalist Michael Smith, James Wilson and current BDO number one Mark McGeeney.
Finally, 2014 Grand Slam finalist Dave Chisnall has been handed a difficult assignment in Wolverhampton this year. ‘Chizzy’ will take on his St Helen’s compatriot Stephen Bunting, 2015 Lakeside champion Scott Mitchell and Dutch qualifier Jeffrey de Zwaan, who is mentored by five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld.
The opening group matches will be held on Saturday November 11th, with play taking place across an action-packed double session. The second group games will then take place on another double session on Sunday.
The final group games will then be held on Monday and Tuesday, with the top two players from each group progressing to the knockout stage from the last 16 onwards. The full group-stage draw can be viewed below.
2017 bwin Grand Slam of Darts
(1) Michael van Gerwen
(8) Raymond van Barneveld
(5) Phil Taylor
(4) Daryl Gurney
(2) Peter Wright
(7) Dave Chisnall
Jeffrey de Zwaan
(6) Mensur Suljovic
(3) Gary Anderson
Berry van Peer