The PDC has conducted the draw for the Dutch Darts Masters, the first European Tour event of a record ten scheduled for 2016. The top 16 players on the Pro Tour Order of Merit—which for the first time includes Mensur Suljovic—are joined by 20 players from the UK qualifier, 8 from the European qualifier, and 4 Dutch players who qualified via the Host Nation qualifier.
The top 16 players are seeded and have byes to the second round, whilst the 32 qualifiers meet on Friday 12 February in the first round. Some highlights of the opening round include Robbie Green, who finished 2015 strongly after a poor first half of the year, against the young Austrian Rowby-John Rodriguez, as well as Mervyn King against a resurgent Ronnie Baxter, with the winner set to take on the newly crowned twice World Champion Gary Anderson in the second round.
However, the highlight of the opening round at least on paper is likely to be Kevin Painter against Jamie Caven. Painter—who had every opportunity to beat Phil Taylor at the Alexandra Palace last month—won through the qualifiers to reach the first two European Tour events at the UK qualifiers. Caven, meanwhile, is buoyed by his best ever run at the World Championships.
The tournament continues Saturday 13 February will all second round matches, whilst the Last 16 will take place on Sunday morning. If Michael van Gerwen and Justin Pipe win their second round matches, their Last 16 tie would be a rematch of last year’s final.
The tournament concludes the evening of 14 February with the quarter-finals, semi-finals, and final. All matches are best of 11 legs.
The draw for the Dutch Darts Masters second round is as follows:
Michael van Gerwen (1) v Dimitri van den Bergh OR John Henderson
Justin Pipe (16) v Andree Welge OR Jamie Lewis
Dave Chisnall (8) v Kevin Thomas OR Jan Dekker
Robert Thornton (9) v Ritchie Edhouse OR Martin Schindler
Kim Huybrechts (5) v Ricky Evans OR Devon Petersen
Gary Anderson (12) v Mervyn King OR Ronnie Baxter
James Wade (4) v Ryan Harrington OR David Pallett
Benito van de Pas (13) v Mark Webster OR Jermaine Wattimena
Michael Smith (2) v Dirk van Duijvenbode OR Gerwyn Price
Mensur Suljovic (15) v Robbie Green OR Rowby-John Rodriguez
Ian White (7) v Mike de Decker OR Simon Whitlock
Jelle Klaasen (10) v Kevin Painter OR Jamie Caven
Adrian Lewis (6) v Paul Milford OR Remco van Eijden
Terry Jenkins (11) v Zoran Lerchbacher OR James Richardson
Peter Wright (3) v John Michael OR Stephen Bunting
Brendan Dolan (14) v Jyhan Artut OR Daryl Gurney
As part of some changes for the PDC calendar and rules for 2016, the European Tour no longer counts on the Order of Merit for the Players Championship Finals. Instead, it serves as the only qualifier for the European Championships, as the top 32 on the Order of Merit from the ten European Tour events will qualify for the event in Hasselt, Belgium.
The PDC has not, however, announced yet whether the European Tour still counts on the Pro Tour Order of Merit used to determine some of the qualifiers for the World Matchplay and World Grand Prix.