THE world’s best darts players are to return to Edinburgh later this year for a new three-day tournament, The Masters, which will be held at the Royal Highland Centre from 1-3 November.
The ITV4-televised event will see the top 16 players from the PDC’s world rankings – led by world champion Phil Taylor, Premier League Darts champion Michael van Gerwen, European champion Adrian Lewis and Scotland’s former UK Open champion Robert Thornton – face off across three nights in a knockout format.
Play will commence on Friday 1 November with eight first-round matches, with the four quarter-finals taking place on the Saturday.
The semi-finals and final will then be held on the Sunday in one session as the destiny of the title is decided.
The Masters will see darts return to the Royal Highland Centre for the first time since the Ingliston venue staged the popular Premier League Darts event in 2009, with tickets going on general sale at 10am today.
“We’re delighted to be bringing darts back to the Royal Highland Centre with The Masters,” said PDC chairman Barry Hearn.
“This is a new concept for us, with only the world’s top 16 players qualifying, but the format will ensure high quality matches throughout three days and exciting matches between the biggest names in darts.
“Scotland has got a great darting history as well as a superb current crop of players, with Robert Thornton a firm fixture inside the top 16 and Gary Anderson fighting to get back into that elite.
“Staging The Masters in Edinburgh will again give Scottish fans the chance to enjoy top-class darts in the flesh this November.”
The top 16 players from the PDC Order of Merit following the Players Championship double-header in Killarney on 19 and 20 October will qualify to compete in The Masters.
Taylor – who has won the world championship, UK Open and World Matchplay this year – is the current world number one, with van Gerwen second, Lewis third and Australian ace Simon Whitlock fourth, having jumped above James Wade in the Order of Merit recently.
English trio Andy Hamilton, Wes Newton and Justin Pipe complete the current top eight, with Dave Chisnall ninth and five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld tenth.
Thornton currently sits 11th, ahead of Kevin Painter and Mervyn King, with Northern Ireland’s Brendan Dolan ranked 14th, Belgium’s Kim Huybrechts in 15th place and Terry Jenkins hanging on to the final qualifying place for The Masters.
However, Scotland’s Anderson is currently in 17th place in the Order of Merit and within touching distance of Jenkins, while Ronnie Baxter, Paul Nicholson and Lothian-born Peter Wright will also have their sights set on jumping into the top 16 before mid-October.
• Tickets can be purchased through SeeTickets at pdc.seetickets.com and by calling 0844 871 8807 (calls cost 6p per minute from a BT landline plus standard network charge). Fans booking tickets from outside of the UK can call 0044 114 223 9817. Tickets are limited to six per person for Table Seating, with Group Booking available for Tiered Seating. Standard PDC Terms & Conditions of Ticket Sales apply – see www.pdc.tv/tickets for full T&Cs.