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PDC UK Open Championship Tournament Preview And Tips


Starting on Friday this week, and shown live in the U.K. on ITV 4, the PDC UK Open Championship darts tournament will get underway. Across Friday, Saturday and Sunday over 150 of the top players in the PDC and a number of qualifiers will battle it out to make it through to Sunday’s final and a chance to lift the coveted trophy.

The event is a true open championship, with anybody able to stump up the entry fee and try their hands through the qualifying rounds to try and reach Friday’s finals weekend. It is also one of the busiest tournaments in the calendar with  hundreds of games played across multiple boards to eventually decide the winner.

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Let’s take a closer look now at the history of this event, some of the big-name previous winners, how this year’s tournament will be organised and who the favourites are to land the trophy this year.

And of course, we will give you our tip on who we think will eventually lift the famous and coveted trophy for the tournament known as the FA Cup of Darts.

PDC UK Open Championship History

For the first eleven years of its running, the UK Open Championship was held at Bolton Wanderers Reebok Stadium. In 2014, the venue then changed to Butlins Minehead where the tournament has remained up until this years enforced move to Milton Keynes.

One of the more remarkable aspects of the tournament is the number of nine-dart finishes that have been landed over the years. Phil Taylor has landed four of these, Michael van Gerwen has done it twice with a number of other players also achieving darting perfection.

The event was also played behind closed doors back in 2018 when extreme weather forced organisers to bar spectators from attending.

PDC UK Open Championship Previous Winners

Phil Taylor is the most decorated player in this event’s relatively short history winning it five times in total (2003, 2005, 2009, 2010 and 2013). Michael van Gerwen is a three-time winner (2015, 2016 and 2020) while James Wade (2008 and 2011) and Raymond van Barneveld (2006 and 2007) have both won the event twice.

Players to have landed one win include Roland Scholten (2004), Robert Thornton (2012), Adrian Lewis (2014), Peter Wright (2017), Gary Anderson (2018) and Nathan Aspinall (2019).

A number of lower ranked players have managed to reach the final of this event, which is why it has been likened to the FA Cup. Losing finalists have included Shayne Burgess, John Part, Mark Walsh, Barrie Bates, Vincent van der Voort, Gary Mawson, Colin Osborne, Wes Newton, Andy Hamilton and Corey Cadby.

PDC UK Open Championship 2021 – Tournament Format

This year, the UK Open Championship will take place in Milton Keynes, as opposed to the original venue of Butlins in Minehead. The action begins on Friday with the First Round, which sees 32 qualifiers competing against the players ranked 98th to 128th in the PDC.

The 32 winners of those ties will then play in the second round against the players ranked 65th to 97th in the PDC in a random draw. Then the 32 winners of those ties also then go on to the third round where they face the players ranked 33rd to 64th in the PDC.

Finally, in the fourth round, the top ranked players in the world from 1st to 32nd enter the fray against the 32 third round winners and at every stage of the competition, there is a random draw to decide which player plays who. This continues right the way through until the final.

It is this potential to pit big name players against each other, or rank outsiders, at any stage of the competition that has seen the tournament dubbed the FA Cup of Darts.

A total of £450,000 in prize money is available to be won with £100,000 going to the winner.

PDC UK Open Championship 2021 – Contenders

A quick look at the betting for this event reveals that it is the same big names that dominate the betting for the tournament. The random draw nature of the event though means slightly longer odds for each selection which is good news for punters.

Michael van Gerwen, last year’s winner, is the bookmakers favourite to land a fourth UK Open title at 4/1, just ahead of the man he beat in last year’s final World Champion Gerwyn Price, who is a 5/1 shot. The odds then drift a little to Peter Wright at 9/1, while the in-form Jonny Clayton is 12/1. Joe Cullen is an 18/1 shot after his improvement in form while Gary Anderson and Dmitri van den Bergh are both 20/1 chances.

It is 25/1 bar those selections.

Our Tips To Win the PDC UK Open Championship 2021

One of the special things about this event is the fact that each round is a random draw. So while, the top players are seeded through to the fourth round of the competition, once they get past that round, they could draw any of the other players remaining in the tournament.

That does make things a little tricky as you could have Michael van Gerwen taking on Gerwyn Price in the fifth round of the event, rather than the final being the earliest point the top two seeds could meet as in standard darts tournament.

This has led to some unusual finalists over the years but in general, the quality players have shone through in this event. My tip here is Peter Wright at 9/1 as I think the Scotsman is due another good performance and a big win. His form has been erratic of late, but when he sets his mind to it he is arguably the toughest player to beat on tour.

That resilience will be key for him to do well this weekend, plus of course he has the game to beat both the two favourites ranked above him.