The PDC announced the launch of ‘The Home Tour’ on Tuesday, providing all 128 Tour Card holders with the opportunity to engage in competitive darts from their own living rooms, although world number one Michael van Gerwen has revealed that he won’t be competing.
‘The Green Machine’ endured a frustrating start to the 2020 season but was beginning to return to his blistering best prior to the enforced lay-off, lifting the UK Open title and registering back-to-back Premier League wins to move up to second in the table.
Over recent weeks, Van Gerwen revealed he wasn’t particularly a fan of the streamed online format and in an interview with Dutch broadcaster RTL7, the three-time world champion explained the reason behind his decision not to participate.
“I cannot meet the requirements of the PDC,” MvG said. “For example, it has to be quiet, but with a newborn baby, a child of two-and-a-half years and three dogs, it wouldn’t work. It’s also two match days in the space of a month. My practise hours with Vincent [van der Voort] are worth more.”
The launch of ‘The Home Tour’ was announced on Tuesday, which will give 128 players the opportunity to compete in the PDC’s first ever home-staged event, with four players in action every night.
Two weeks ago the PDC introduced the ‘Darts at Home’ concept, which saw players compete in a round-robin format over the course of the evening. South Africa’s Devon Petersen won the inaugural staging, whilst former UK Open champion Nathan Aspinall was crowned last week’s winner.
This format will be mirrored in the PDC Home Tour, with 32 consecutive nights of top-class action set to be broadcast worldwide from the living rooms of the professionals.
A nightly league format will see all four competitors play each other in best of nine leg matches, with a group winner crowned each night. Following the conclusion of the 32 nights of league phase action, the 32 group winners will advance to compete in the second phase of the competition.
Dan Dawson will be providing commentary throughout the competition, with match statistics also available on screen. All PDC Home Tour action will be broadcast for free on PDCTV, whilst the tournament will also be shown live via a series of bookmakers’ websites.
PDC Chairman Barry Hearn commented: “Firstly, I would like to thank all our incredible NHS staff who continue to save lives in the most difficult circumstances, we all owe an immense amount of gratitude to our key workers.
“It gives me great excitement that we are able to deliver live darts to fans in these unprecedented times. We’ve spent the last few weeks planning and looking at what is possible, and I’m delighted to be able to present a concept which gives all Tour Card Holders the opportunity to take part.
“The PDC Home Tour will provide a regular supply of live sport to fans, showcasing the talent and unique characters of our players to both existing and new audiences. The event will also give players a chance to play competitive darts in preparation for the return to normal action.”
The line-ups and fixtures have been confirmed for the first four nights of action and current PDC world champion Peter Wright will headline the opening night, alongside former World Championship semi-finalist Jamie Lewis.
World number three Gerwyn Price is among those in action on day two, with Dave Chisnall and two-time BDO world champion Scott Waites set to lock horns on day three. Meanwhile, the fourth night will see four-time women’s world champion Lisa Ashton making her bow in the tournament.
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PDC Home Tour Fixtures
Nights One to Four
Group One – Friday April 17
Peter Wright v Peter Jacques
Jamie Lewis v Niels Zonneveld
Peter Jacques v Niels Zonneveld
Peter Wright v Jamie Lewis
Jamie Lewis v Peter Jacques
Niels Zonneveld v Peter Wright
Group Two – Saturday April 18
Gerwyn Price v Rowby-John Rodriguez
Luke Woodhouse v Ted Evetts
Rowby-John Rodriguez v Ted Evetts
Gerwyn Price v Luke Woodhouse
Luke Woodhouse v Rowby-John Rodriguez
Ted Evetts v Gerwyn Price
Group Three – Sunday April 19
Dave Chisnall v Scott Waites
Jan Dekker v Jonathan Worsley
Scott Waites v Jonathan Worsley
Dave Chisnall v Jan Dekker
Jan Dekker v Scott Waites
Jonathan Worsley v Dave Chisnall
Group Four – Monday April 20
Ross Smith v Lisa Ashton
Mickey Mansell v Geert Nentjes
Lisa Ashton v Geert Nentjes
Ross Smith v Mickey Mansell
Mickey Mansell v Lisa Ashton
Geert Nentjes v Ross Smith