PDC v BDO: Two darting worlds collide at the Grand Slam of Darts

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This Saturday, for the only time this year, the best players from both darting organisations will play in the same televised major competition to fight for the opportunity to win £100,000 as well as the title of Grand Slam of Darts champion.

However, some of you who are new to the game may wonder why there are two separate organisations in the first place.

The reason why there are two – the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) and British Darts Organisation (BDO) – is because a handful of the world’s best players split from the BDO for a variety of reasons.

Diminishing prize money, lack of TV exposure and the general feeling of stagnation compelled 16 of the world’s best players to try and make changes to the BDO back in 1992, but their bosses, most notably then chairman Olly Croft, refused to listen.

As a result, the elite group of players, which included Phil Taylor, Eric Bristow, John Lowe, Jocky Wilson, Dennis Priestley and Bob Anderson, formed what was then known as the World Darts Council.

After the 1993 World Championship at the Lakeside Country Club, the 16 then formed their own tour, which included their own world championship. Despite some early jitters, they managed to find their feet, not least because of constant TV coverage of their major events by Sky Sports.

A court case in 1997 saw the WDC change their name to the PDC, and since the turn of the century, they have managed to persuade a number of the BDO’s biggest talents, most notably Raymond van Barneveld, Gary Anderson, Mervyn King, Simon Whitlock and Michael van Gerwen to join their ranks.

Today, the PDC are seen as the stronger of the two organisations and upwardly mobile, while the BDO are seen by some of their detractors as old hat and stuck in the 1980s.

This has acted as motivation for the BDO players to show they can mix it with the PDC’s best at the Grand Slam of Darts. No-one summed that feeling up better than Scott Waites, who won the 2010 title after beating the likes of James Wade, Van Barneveld and Adrian Lewis, who is 8/1 to win this year’s tournament.

Since the seeds were first sown for the split in the game, there has been some animosity between the two organisations, mainly on the part of their management teams, which has added edge to the Grand Slam of Darts.

The fact that many players who played in the tournament as BDO players then moved to the PDC after the Lakeside (Dean Winstanley being a prime example) has added a lot of spice to this event, and this year could be no different.

Most of this year’s field have enjoyed a lot of success on the BDO circuit before switching.

Should one of their six representatives enjoy success at the Wolverhampton Civic Hall over the nine-day event, could they follow in the footsteps of Barney et al by chasing the PDC buck?

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