Main contenders for World Grand Prix glory
Dublin’s Citywest Hotel plays host to the upcoming 2012 World Grand Prix – with the winner set to walk away with a cool £100,000.
A field of 32 players will battle it out over a week when the televised tournament starts on Monday in what promises to be an eventful competition.
In the latest of our special previews ahead of the World Grand Prix, we turn the spotlight on five players with genuine title hopes.
Phil Taylor (England)
World ranking: 1
Having won the World Grand Prix an astonishing 10 times, most recently last year against Brendan Dolan, the world number one is the rightful favourite for the title, although his recent form has been patchy, losing to Dolan in the quarter-finals of the European Championships.
However, Taylor is the only player in the field to have played in every Grand Prix since 1998, and is the best finisher in the game.
Adrian Lewis (England)
World ranking: 2
The current Ladbrokes world champion hasn’t done too much since lifting the crown back in January. However, it was his run to the final of this very tournament two years ago that acted as the catalyst towards superstardom, beating former practice partner Taylor along the way.
He has a tough first-round match against the rejuvenated Welshman Richie Burnett, but he’s arguably the most naturally-gifted player in darts, so don’t count him out.
James Wade (England)
World ranking: 3
The winner in 2007 and 2010, like Lewis, the left-hander’s form has been hit and miss in 2012, where he reached the final of the World Matchplay in July, but suffered two early exits in the UK Open and European Championships at the hands of Colin Lloyd.
Like Taylor, Wade’s superb on his doubles, and in this double-in, double-out format Wade represents a good bet if you fancy him to make it a hat-trick of titles in Dublin.
Simon Whitlock (Australia)
World ranking: 5
The hirsute Australian ace finally bagged a major tournament, picking up the European Championships last month. Before then, he won his first ProTour event in nearly two years, and certainly has the winner’s touch.
However, in the steady Justin Pipe, he has a difficult first-round game, but as he has shown in recent weeks, he’s capable of beating absolutely anyone in the world.
Wes Newton (England)
World ranking: 6
Having lost out to Whitlock in the final of the European Championships, the fast-rising Lancastrian may be forgiven for feeling down.
Fortunately for him, a couple of days after that final defeat, he became the first player to qualify for the Winners’ Group of the Championship League of Darts, which included a hefty 115 three-dart average in a 6-4 victory against Phil Taylor. Newton is known for being a clinical finisher, as well as a big scorer, so he is in with a great chance of lifting his maiden major title.
Please Note: All odds, Markets and facts are correct at the time of publishing