The festive period is upon us, and that means that this year’s World Darts Championship is within throwing distance. The Alexandra Palace-based tournament will get underway on December 15th with the much-anticipated final taking place on January 3rd. And, the good news is that fans will be in attendance at Ally Pally – marking the return of spectators to the sport for the first time since March.
Last year’s champion Peter Wright will be hoping to defend his title, but he has his work cut out if he wants to stop the likes of Michael van Gerwen and Gerywn Price, who are the frontrunners in the PDC World Championship odds from Betfair, from getting their hands on the sought-after trophy.
As we count down the last few days until the first dart gets thrown, let’s take a look back at those who have enjoyed the most success in the tournament’s short 26-year history.
Phil Taylor – 14 titles
Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor dominated the world of darts for pretty much three decades. The Englishman, who was a founding member of the PDC, won a whopping 214 professional tournaments, a record 85 of which were premier events. With a huge 14 World Championship titles to his name, which all came within a 19-year period, Taylor is leaps and bounds ahead of his nearest opposition. After losing the first ever final in 1994 to Dennis Priestly, the Stoke-on-Trent-native’s first victory came in the following year, and that opened the floodgates as he went on to win 11 of the next 12 tournaments. His last triumph was against van Gerwen in 2013.
Michael van Gerwen – three titles
Van Gerwen has flourished in recent years, winning the tournament on three occasions since 2014, so it’s clear to see why he is usually fancied by the bookies and the punters alike in the pre-World Championship odds. After losing his first final to Taylor in 2013, the Dutchman bounced back with a 7-4 victory over Wright the following year. Mighty Mike’s next victory wasn’t until 2017, when he denied Scotsman Gary Anderson three titles on the trot, whilst his most recent victory was over Michael Smith in 2019. This year, van Gerwen will be hoping to bounce back from that crushing 7-3 defeat to Wright in last year’s World Darts Championship final.
Gary Anderson – two titles
With back-to-back victories in 2015 and 2016, Anderson became just the third person in the tournament’s history to win successive titles, and also the first person from Scotland to lift the trophy. ‘The Flying Scotsman’ reached his first final in 2011, losing to Adrian Lewis, and he was made to wait four years for another opportunity, this time taking it by the scruff of the neck, narrowly beating Taylor 7-6 in the final. In 2016, Anderson breezed to the final, dropping just two sets en route to the showpiece, where he beat Lewis 7-5.
Adrian Lewis – two titles
Lewis beat Anderson to his first World Championship crown in 2011 and became just the second person to win the tournament successively when he defended his title against compatriot Andy Hamilton with a 7-3 win in the 2012 final. Since then, Lewis has reached the final just once, losing to Anderson in 2016.
John Part – two titles
Canadian thrower John Part won the tournament twice in the early 2000s. He first reached the final in 2001 but was dealt an embarrassing 7-0 whitewash by Taylor. However, in 2003 he got his vengeance, ending The Power’s eight-tournament win streak with a narrow 7-6 victory. In 2008, ‘Darth Maple’ steamrolled his way back to the final, and it was a much more comfortable affair, as he beat Kirk Shepherd 7-2.
Priestley, Raymond van Barneveld, Wright and Rob Cross have all won the tournament once each.