The battle for the world title darts at the Alexandra Palace in London seems to go between the usual names. NU.nl lists the five biggest favorites for the Sid Waddell Trophy and the corresponding check of 500,000 British pounds.
Michael van Gerwen
The absolute top favorite for the world title is of course Michael van Gerwen. The Vlijmenaar had a difficult period in the summer - he was eliminated from the World Matchplay in the second round and stranded together with Jermaine Wattimena in the semi-finals of the World Cup of Darts - but after that he was old-fashioned dominant again. He won four of the last six tournaments; the World Grand Prix, the Champions League of Darts (the only missing major on his list of achievements), the World Series of Darts Finals and the Players Championship Finals, thus cutting the mouths of the critics.
Michael van Gerwen screams. (Photo: PDC / Lawrence Lustig)
Van Gerwen's biggest attacker is Gerwyn Price. The Welshman is going through a stormy development. He extended his title last month at the Grand Slam of Darts (victory in semi-finals at Van Gerwen) and reached the final of the Players Championship Finals (defeat to Van Gerwen). Price is also increasingly receiving public appreciation. Where he was whistled out en masse for a long time because of his misconduct last year at the Grand Slam of Darts, that has recently become much less the case. It is striking that Price has only been playing darts since 2014 and previously rugby on a professional level.
Gerwyn Price holds up the Grand Slam of Darts trophy. (Photo: PDC / Lawrence Lustig)
Just like Van Gerwen and Price, Rob Cross also had a good year. The Englishman won the World Matchplay and the European Championship and was mainly due to his consistency. Something on which he hammered up last year after his surprising elimination in the fourth round of the World Cup. It was all a bit less changeable. Cross shone in 2017 in his debut year with, among other things, the world title, but then fell back slightly. "I have been Mister Nice Guy for too long. In my opinion, I am not afraid of my opponents," he said recently.
Rob Cross clenches his fist. (Photo: PDC / Lawrence Lustig)
Despite his two world titles, Gary Anderson is nothing more than an outsider at this World Cup. De Schot is still scrambling back a back injury. He had to withdraw from the Premier League of Darts early this year due to that injury. In the meantime, he was treated extensively on his back by the osteopath and the physiotherapist, but the results are not yet available. "It may take a while before I will regain my consistency, so I am not putting too much pressure on myself for the tournaments that I will play this year," he tempered expectations in the summer.
Gary Anderson is ready for his rise. (Photo: PDC / Lawrence Lustig)
Peter Wright struggled quite well with himself at the start of this year, especially with his arrows, but he is in good shape again in recent months. De Schot pitched two months ago in a Players Championship with 123.5 points per three arrows and broke the Van Gerwen record (123.4). He showed again at the Champions League of Darts why he still won only one major (UK Open in 2017). He lost a 10-7 lead in the final against Van Gerwen (10-11) and missed three match darts, which means he still has to break a mental barrier.
Peter Wright in one of his colorful outfits. (Photo: PDC / Lawrence Lustig)
Other Dutch participants:
Raymond van Barneveld: De Hagenaar ends his glorious career after this World Cup. He took the world title five times in the past, but the last one dates back to 2007. He performed poorly this year and hardly qualified for any major.
Jermaine Wattimena: De Westervoorter has become the number two in the Netherlands. At the World Grand Prix he reached the quarter-finals of a major for the first time and then let the tears run free.
Jeffrey de Zwaan: De Rijswijker stunted last year with a semi-final place at the World Matchplay, but failed to continue that line this year. He gained some confidence again at the European Championship with a place in the quarterfinals.
Danny Noppert: De Jouster exchanged the BDO for the PDC last year and is increasingly finding its way up. He reached the finals in the World Series of Darts Finals, but he had no chance against Van Gerwen (2-11).
Vincent van der Voort: De Purmerender returns slowly after a dragging back injury that has been troubling him for years. He almost always performs well at the World Cup, with the quarter-finals in 2011 and 2015 as highlights.
Raymond van Barneveld is emotional during his last Premier League match in Ahoy Rotterdam. (Photo: Pro Shots)
Jelle Klaasen: The Alphenaar became world champion at the BDO in 2006, then also achieved some great results at the PDC (semi-final place at the 2016 World Cup), but has been struggling with injuries in recent years, which means he has fallen far.
Ron Meulenkamp: De Hoogevener dropped no less than 53 kilos to be able to perform better and that pays off more and more. He was in the semi-finals of a Players Championship three times, but is still waiting for an outlier on a major.
Jan Dekker: The Emmenaar is in a difficult period. He lost a good friend in March and then had trouble focusing. He competed against a woman, Lisa Ashton, at the World Cup last year in the first round and then narrowly won.
Benito van de Pas: The Tilburger has had a dramatic year and was missing on all majors. At the last qualifying tournament, he narrowly qualified for the World Cup and called it one of the best moments of his career.
Geert Nentjes: Urk is first on the Development Tour and is one of the talents in the Netherlands. He was immediately eliminated from his debut at the World Cup last year and was not serious enough, he said.
See also: The full schedule of the World Cup darts in London