While the PDC Home Tour continues to occupy the darting schedules, one key man is missing from the new tournament. Three-time World Champion Michael Van Gerwen has elected to stay away from the new competition with a clear aim to target more conventional events later in the year.
Having lost his World Crown to Peter Wright at the start of 2020, the big PDC tournament will be the main aim for Mighty Mike - but has he made the right decision to stay away from competitive darts?
We’re several months away from the next PDC World Championships, but markets have already been in place for some time. According to darts betting options from bet365, Van Gerwen is the runaway favourite at odds of 6/4, while 2020 winner Snakebite Wright follows at a relatively distant 13/2.
MVG’s decision to not participate in the PDC Home Tour was partly down to his home situation. The tournament asked for complete silence and, with a young child, a baby and three dogs, the Dutch darter couldn’t guarantee eliminating any background noise.
While there were those factors to consider, Van Gerwen didn’t seem completely sold on the idea of the PDC home tournament, preferring to practise alone ahead of bigger events later in the year. Could the decision to avoid competitive play cost the Dutchman moving forward?
Phil Taylor may have retired from the game, but the most successful thrower in the history of darts is never short of an opinion. Speaking in April, ‘The Power’ suggested that Van Gerwen would feel the pressure of family life and, in particular, being away from his loved ones while on tour.
Taylor’s thoughts are very much open to debate, as MVG and his partner, Daphne, already have a young daughter born in 2017, and her arrival did little to affect his game in the three years that have followed. It’s impossible to ignore the opinions of one of our sporting greats, but not everyone is on board with the Power’s comments.
Taylor was speaking from experience but, as he rightly said, the tour is much busier now than when he had a young family, and that will add to the pressure placed on MVG.
He may not be the World Champion but Michael Van Gerwen remains as the most successful player currently involved in the sport of darts. In 2019, the Dutchman started the year by lifting the world title, and he went on to win four more PDC premier events including the Masters, the Champions League, and the Premier League.
Challenges are always provided by the likes of Peter Wright, Gary Anderson, and Rob Cross, while Nathan Aspinall’s rise through the ranks, and Glen Durrant’s switch from the BDO, has provided greater competition. He may not currently be able to dominate the sport as he has in the past, but Michael Van Gerwen remains the man to beat in any tournament, and he must continue to stay focused and in form while his rivals take part in the competitive action.