The Masters – January 28-30, Milton Keynes
Darts fans don’t have to wait long for the sport’s big stars to gather under one roof once more.
The top 24 in the field will toe the oche at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes at the end of January in the darting year’s recently-established curtain-raiser.
Jonny Clayton only found his way into the field 12 months ago after the competition was expanded from 16 to 24 players – and he duly went and won it, beating Mervyn King 11-8 in the final.
Clayton is 7/1 to successfully defend his title with fellow Welshman and world No.1 Gerwyn Price the 7/2 favourite.
Premier League – February 3-May 26, various venues
Organisers are still thrashing out the names for this year’s Premier League, though we know the format, 16 nights of league action before the top four head to the playoffs at the end of May, this year in Newcastle.
The top four in the world – Price, Wright, Michael van Gerwen and James Wade – get in by right while Clayton, the defending champion, and Michael Smith, who thrilled Ally Pally all the way to the final, will also be in the line-up.
World Seniors Championship – February 3-6, Purfleet
On the same day that the current giants of the game get their Premier League campaigns underway, many of the sport’s older generation gather at the Circus Tavern for the inaugural World Seniors Championship.
Sixteen-time world champ Phil Taylor heads the field and, unsurprisingly, heads the betting at 6/4.
The field, which also includes the likes of John Part, Terry Jenkins and Paul Lim, boasts a combined total of 41 world titles, and so confident are they of laying on something special that they have already signed up to a Seniors Masters and Seniors Matchplay later in the year.
UK Open – March 4-6, Minehead
The darting world does like to be beside the seaside in March with Butlin’s Minehead fast becoming a major venue in the PDC’s calendar.
The resort, which also hosts the Players Championships Finals at the end of the year, will stage the UK Open for the eighth time.
They call this major the FA Cup of Darts because of the free draw which the top guns tend not to like. That didn’t stop Price and Van Gerwen from reaching the semis last March – yet incredibly neither man would go on to reach the final. The Iceman lost to James Wade in his semi, MVG to Luke Humphries in his, with Wade going on to take the title.
World Matchplay – July 16-24, Blackpool
The Golden Mile, the illuminations, donkeys on the beach – and, of course, the World Matchplay from the Winter Gardens. All are summer staples up on the Lancashire coast.
Peter Wright had the week of his life last year, producing a tournament average of 104 and demolishing Dimitri van den Bergh in the final to claim the £250,000 top prize. If that was the week of Snakebite’s life, the fortnight of his life was yet to come!
*All odds correct at time of writing.