Whitlock Set For Premier League Return

Simon Whitlock 2018 World Darts Championship

FORMER PREMIER LEAGUE DARTS RUNNER-UP SIMON WHITLOCK will return to the tournament in 2018, after fighting his way back into the world’s top ten.

Whitlock, who reached the final of the elite event in 2012, last appeared in the 16-week roadshow competition in 2014 and will return when this year’s edition gets underway in Dublin on Thursday 1 February.

The Australian ace will be joined by PDC Order of Merit qualifiers (in world ranking order) Michael Van Gerwen, Peter Wright, Rob Cross and Gary Anderson – along with five other wildcard choices, who are Raymond Van Barneveld, fellow returnee Michael Smith and debutants Mensur Suljovic, Gerwyn Price and Daryl Gurney, who defeated Whitlock in October’s thrilling World Grand Prix final.

“I’m delighted to be back,” said Whitlock, who is currently ranked ninth in Order of Merit.

“I knew I was in with a chance but wasn’t certain I’d be selected because I didn’t do well at the World Championship or towards the end of the year.

“But I’m glad that my form over the rest of the year was enough to help me clinch a spot. I’m very grateful for the wildcard and I will not be there to make up the numbers.

“I’ve been to the final before and I believe I can win.”

The tournament will be the first Premier League without Phil Taylor, who retired following his World Championship final defeat to Cross on New Year’s Day.

Whitlock added: “Phil is a legend and has done so much for the sport. I wish him a happy retirement. He deserves it and it will be strange without him. He beat me in that final so I won’t have to worry about him stopping me again!”