The 2020 bwin World Series of Darts Finals will be taking place this year at the Salzburgarena in Salzburg, Austria from 18-20 September 2020.
The 2020 World Series was set to hold events this year at New York City, Copenhagen, Wollongong, Townsville and Hamilton. However due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, these events were postponed to 2021.
Bizarrely, this event will go ahead as planned, but it is another opportunity for the players to get some more competitive darts under their belts. Also, the event will be the first since the resumption of play where fans will be allowed to come and watch. However social distancing rules will still apply to the fans as they need to wear facemasks and need to sanitize their hands upon entry to the venue. The floor arena will split into four sections, where each section contains their own entrance, exit, sanitary areas, food and drink outlets and a smoking area.
It will also be the same for the players too, who will go under COVID-19 tests, have to place their equipment on separate tables (one player puts their equipment on one table, one puts their equipment on the other) and they are not required to shake hands with their opponent or referee!
It is a weird world that we live in, but it is great to have some more darts back on the TV! With the five Players Championship events this week that gave us some top entertaining drama, it is no doubt that this year’s event will do exactly the same!
The draw for this year’s event took place after Players Championship 14 on Saturday 12th September 2020. Here’s what the draw conjured up with.
First of all, we must begin with the defending champion and the world number one Michael van Gerwen. Van Gerwen won this tournament last year for the fourth time after defeating Danny Noppert in the final 11-2. However, this year has been a tough one for Michael as he has struggled with his new darts. Despite wins at the UK Open and two Players Championship events, he has suffered his first defeat at the Masters in five years after falling to Jonny Clayton, was thumped heavily 11-4 by Simon Whitlock and suffered a shambolic campaign in the Premier League, finishing sixth and ensured that the world number one will not be making it to the playoffs for the first time in his career. However, he did switch back to his old darts in the recent Autumn Series and did show signs of his brilliant best, taking Players Championship 16 victory on Monday. Winning this event in four of the five years that it has been held, it’s an event that Van Gerwen will be willing to do well in and the world number one faces Glen Durrant (who became the third player to top the Premier League table) or Dimitri Van den Bergh (the reigning World Matchplay champion). Whoever he faces, it will be a tricky test for Van Gerwen!
James Wade is the only other player to have won this event, taking victory in 2018 after defeating Michael Smith 11-10 in the final. 2020 has been a quiet one for James Wade as he has not recorded a single quarter final appearance on the TV as yet! However, his form on the floor has been very good, making some deep runs and he did claim victory in Players Championship 12 in July. He also hit a 9 darter in the Autumn Series against Robert Collins. Wade wasn’t originally seeded for this event but was promoted to the seeds after Gary Anderson withdrew. Wade will need a great run here to get some confidence into the tank and the 10 time major winner will face either Canada’s Jeff Smith (who reached the BDO World Championship final in 2016) or female sensation Fallon Sherrock (who reached the third round of the World Championship this year). All eyes will also be on Fallon this year! Can she spring a surprise?
Former runner up at this event Michael Smith has had some decent moments in 2020 so far. He began the year by reaching the final of the Masters, where he agonizingly lost to Peter Wright in the final after missing three darts to become the champion! He also reached the final of the only European Tour event of the year in Belgium, where he lost 8-3 to Gerwyn Price! Smith also made to the semi finals of the World Matchplay, losing 18-16 to his good friend and mentor Gary Anderson. However, Smith suffered another disappointing Premier League season, finishing seventh and received disgraceful abuse on social media from other darts fans! His Autumn series recently was very disappointing too, with his best result being a third round in Players Championship. He will need to regather his form and quickly! Smith faces either Krzysztof Ratajski (a late replacement for Gary Anderson and a finalist in Players Championship 18) or Mensur Suljovic (who reached the final in Players Championship 16 and will be become a fan favourite in this year’s event).
2018 world champion Rob Cross comes into this event on the back of some poor form this year! His only best runs this year have been two quarter finals (UK Open and Players Championship 5) and a final at Players Championship 12, where he lost 8-2 in the final to James Wade. Apart from that he has suffered many early exits in the Players Championship events, surrendered his World Matchplay crown at the first hurdle against Gabriel Clemens (becoming the second reigning World Matchplay champion to lose in the first round of the event) and was relegated early in the Premier League this year. His Autumn Series wasn’t good either, with his best being a last 32 in the last three events! He did suffer tragedy this year with his grandad passing away due to COVID-19 complications, which could well be the reason for this! A big tournament for Cross this form wise and he faces either Simon Whitlock (2012 European Championship winner) or Steve Beaton (1996 BDO World Champion and one of four tour card holder qualifiers for this event) in his second round tie.
The reigning world champion Peter Wright has been enjoying life this year. After claiming the biggest title of his life on New Year’s Day, he has shown us why he has fully deserved it, winning the Masters title just weeks after becoming world champion! He has also scored three Players Championship wins this year and finished in second place at the Premier League, securing his spot in the playoffs! He has also finished in the latter stages in tournaments consistently this year! Wright is certainly one of the favourites for the title and he faces either Stoke’s Ian White (who won Players Championship 8 this year) or Australia’s Damon Heta (who won his first PDC ranking title on Sunday).
Northern Ireland’s Daryl Gurney has also had a miserable 2020 so far! The former World Grand Prix and Players Championship Finals champion has only reached just two semi finals this year (UK Open and Players Championship 11) and also quarter final (Players Championship 12). Apart from that, it has been littered with early exits at the Masters, the World Matchplay and in many Players Championship events. He could only muster one last 16 appearance at the Autumn Series recently. Gurney will face either New Zealand’s Cody Harris (who narrowly missed out on a tour card this year) or Dave Chisnall (a multiple major runner up).
Reigning Grand Slam champion Gerwyn Price comes into this tournament in very good form. Apart from one early exit at the World Matchplay this year, he has secured tournament wins in the Belgian Darts Championship and also three Players Championship wins (including back to back titles at the Autumn Series). He has also reached finals in three other Players Championship events and also the UK Open final, where he lost 11-9 to Michael van Gerwen. Price came close to the playoffs this year in the Premier League, but narrowly missed out in fifth. His campaign was controversial due to comments in interviews and also posts on social media. However nonetheless, his recent form definitely puts him as a title contender and Price faces either Joe Cullen (who won the European Matchplay last year) or Vincent van der Voort (who reached the quarter finals at the World Matchplay this year).
Reigning US Masters and Home Tour champion Nathan Aspinall has continued where he left off last year. After reaching the semi finals at the World Championship for the second year in a row, Aspinall also reached the semi finals in the Masters at the start of the year, losing 11-10 to Michael Smith. Silverware didn’t come long for him as he took victories in Players Championship events 2 and 7! He also became the first ever champion in the PDC Home Tour, despite never practicing at home and needed to buy a dartboard in order to compete in the event. He is certainly a worth tip for this year’s title and ‘The Asp’ faces either Harry Ward (one of the Tour Card Holder qualifiers and who recently announced that he intends to resign his tour card at the end of the season) or Lithuania’s Darius Labanauskas (who reached the quarter final at the World Championship this year).
The 2020 bwin World Series of Darts Finals will be shown live on ITV4 over four sessions. (All times BST).
Sunday Afternoon (11:45am-3:45pm)
Sunday Evening (7:15pm-11:15pm)