The World Grand Prix is the PDC event that can produce the biggest shock due to its Double In, Double out format. Meaning that there are so many more contenders for this crown than there is during any other tournament which means that for once this won’t just be contested between Van Gerwen, Taylor and Anderson as most PDC events are. Last year produced a shock winner in Robert Thornton a man who rarely challenges for major trophies with his best ever World Championship finish being the quarter finals in 2015.
However if there is one thing I would say about this tournament is that you can write off the 180 merchants of the darting world players like; Michael Smith, Dave Chisnall and Simon Whitlock who are in my opinion great players in an ordinary format however with the Grand Prix you have to hit a double to start and these boys aren’t the best at consistently hitting doubles. As highlighted by Smith and Chisnall’s disappointing Premier League campaigns with both being eliminated on judgement night despite being incredibly good scorers throughout the competition. These men will struggle as their opponent may already be down to a sub 300 score by the time they get started.
The Grand Prix in previous years has allowed players who usually wouldn’t get a sniff at a major final to progress incredibly far. For example Brendan Dolan who reached the 2011 final has never reached another major final as well as the current champion Robert Thornton who only has a UK Open title to his name.
The player who could be the dark horse this year in my opinion is Joe Cullen a man who I watched beat world champion Gary Anderson 6-0 in the German Darts Masters in a very impressive display is a newcomer to the Grand Prix however his draw has been quite kind to him meeting Simon Whitlock in the first round a player who has been on a decline and doesn’t perform brilliantly in the Grand Prix format then in the second round should he progress he will meet either Alan Norris or Michael Smith two men who are in a similar vein as Whitlock where they don’t play at there best in the format. In the quarter finals if all goes to plan Cullen would meet MVG where he would probably be beaten but do not write him off completely. Personally I believe that Van Gerwen will go on to win the entire tournament however I will fully write up my top 10 contenders in a future blog post.