The Alexandra Palace in North London is the destination once more for darts’ showcase event, as Phil "The Power" Taylor goes in search of a phenomenal 17th world crown.
The 21st edition of the World Darts Championship has a lot to live up to after the dizzying heights the players reached last season.
The action, which runs Dec 13-Jan 1, will see 72 players compete for a share of the £1.05 million prize pot.
|World Championship 2014: Prize Money|
Taylor will once more be the favourite to get his hands on the trophy, named in honour of "The Voice of Darts" Sid Waddell, who passed away last year.
The Englishman is considered the greatest to have ever played the game and when on form there is little anyone can do to stop him. The 2012 and 2013 PDC Player of the Year has showed no signs of letting up in recent times.
The 53-year-old captured a fifth Grand Slam of Darts title last month, but his defeat to Michael van Gerwen in the Players Championship Finals at the beginning of December will have given him pause for thought.
Van Gerwen, who tops the ProTour Order of Merit, has won 10 events this year, but his win at the Butlins Minehead Resort was his first since May. He had trailed 3-6 in the final against Taylor before reeling off seven straight legs to tip the balance in his favour.
The Dutchman, who beat four top-10 players at the Grand Slam of Darts, will be full of confidence when he arrives at Alexandra Palace, where he fell in last year’s final to Taylor.
Former winners Adrian Lewis and Raymond van Barneveld, who are ranked 3rd and 10th in the Order of Merit, will also be keen to etch their names on the trophy once more.
Lewis will be going for his third title in four years, while van Barneveld will be looking for his first since 2007.
Taylor will get the defence of his title underway on the opening night against the winner of the Rob Szabo and Ian Moss matchup.
Here’s a look at the preliminary and opening round matchups, which are set to run over seven days.
|World Championship 2014: 1st Round Schedule|
|Dec. 13 (7 p.m. GMT)||Dec. 14 (12 p.m. GMT)||Dec. 14 (7 p.m. GMT)|
|Part vs. Michels||Walsh vs. Komula||Barbero vs. Welge|
|Szabo vs. Moss||McGarry vs. Laursen||Thornton vs. Hopp|
|Wright vs. Cullen||Jones vs. McDine||Anderson vs. Dudbridge|
|Taylor vs. Szabo/Moss||Jenkins vs. McGarry/Laursen||Hamilton vs. Barbero/Welge|
|Burnett vs. Winstanley||White vs. Anderson||Nicholson vs. Kellett|
|Dec. 15 (7 p.m. GMT)||Dec. 16 (7 p.m. GMT)||Dec. 17 (7 p.m. GMT)|
|Chisnall vs. Henderson||Baxter vs. Evans||Lloyd vs. Anderson|
|Lindskjold vs. Osborne||Petersen vs. Sapup||Lerchbacher vs. Ward|
|Van Barneveld vs. Lewis||Huybrechts vs. Huybrechts||Van der Voort vs. Clark|
|Dolan vs. Lindskjold/Osborne||Beaton vs. Petersen/Sapup||Van Gerwen vs. Lerchbacher/Ward|
|Caven vs. Klaasen||King vs. Young||Whitlock vs. Smith|
|Dec. 18 (7 p.m. GMT)||Dec. 19 (7 p.m. GMT)|
|Smith vs. Brown||Webster vs. Suljovic|
|Hashimoto vs. Lim||Vos vs. Lam|
|Pipe vs. Monk||Wade vs. Webster|
|Smith vs. Hashimoto/Lim||Newton vs. Vos/Lam|
|Lewis vs. Smith||Painter vs. Seyler|
For a full run down on the dates and times of every round check out pdc.tv.
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