All eyes will be on Michael van Gerwen once again when the best players in the PDC descend on Butlin’s resort in Minehead between March 3 and 5 for the Coral UK Open as the Dutchman attempts to continue his domination of darts.
The world number one is the reigning champion for the Somerset showpiece as he will be for most tournaments in 2017 after virtually sweeping the board last year.
Having risen to the top of the rankings and won every televised major on offer in 2016, the 27-year-old kicked off this year’s campaign with a crushing defeat of Gary Anderson to claim the world title at Alexandra Palace.
He has continued his stellar form in the Premier League and tops the standings after three weeks of the PDC roadshow.
‘Mighty Mike’ only claimed one of the UK Open qualifying events, however, as ‘Snakebite’ Peter Wright won three to confirm his place at the top of the Order Of Merit, with Aussie ace Simon Whitlock taking the other two.
However, he did manage two nine-dart finishes in one qualifier and will again be the man to beat, as he is playing darts to a level that not even the great Phil Taylor could match in his pomp.
Other names to look out for include Belgian brothers Ronny and Kim Huybrechts, with the former reaching the final of one of this year’s qualifiers on February 11.
Kim is among the 10 players involved in the 2017 Premier League and is a ‘streaky’ player who throws fast and can take a game away from his opponent in a hurry, and a glance at bestbettingwebsites.org would give you the best price on ‘The Hurricane’ claiming his first televised title.
‘The Power’ has opted not to play this time around as the man who has won the UK Open five times starts to wind down his illustrious 30-year career - but most of the usual suspects will be in the line-up.
Anderson will probably be MVG’s main threat once again, but the mercurial Adrian Lewis and the evergreen Raymond van Barneveld will also make the trip to the South West and could have a say in proceedings.
Both are former champions as is James Wade who took out shock finalist Gary Mawson of the USA back in 2008.
The nature of the event can lend itself to the odd surprise or two as the tournament is run on similar lines to the FA Cup, with a fresh draw made after the completion of every round.
The top 32 in the Order of Merit will not play until the third round while those ranked between 33 and 64 are given a bye into round two, but the rest will have to slog it out in every round if they are to progress to the final.
It is always a fascinating weekend of darts with the equivalent of non-league teams playing those from the Premier League and there have been a few giant-killing acts over the years.
But the cream usually rises to the top and it would be a brave man to bet against van Gerwen lifting the trophy for a third successive year on Sunday evening.
2017 Coral UK Open
Ryan Murray v John Ferrell
Scott Robertson v Alan Tabern
Johnny Haines v Wayne Morris
Jamie Caven v Dan Read
Rob Hewson v Ritchie Edhouse
Joe Davis v Paul Harvey
Paul Hogan v Keegan Brown
Wayne Jones v Lee Bryant
Mark Frost v Jamie Bain
Brett Claydon v Paul Barham
James Carroll v Brandon Walsh
Alex Roy v Kevin Edwards
Darren Johnson v Jeffrey de Zwaan
Gary Eastwood v James Wilson
Antonio Alcinas v James Richardson
Ron Meulenkamp v Ting Chi Royden Lam
Yordi Meeuwisse v Martin Biggs
Brian Dawson v Paul Milford
Mark Layton v Tony Newell
Paul Cartwright v Matt Padgett
Paul Rowley v Ronnie Baxter
Jimmy McKirdy v Jonny Clayton
Kai Fan Leung v Jermaine Wattimena
Kevin Bambrick v Nicky Bell
Darryl Pilgrim v Ben Green
Lee Evans v Andrew Davidson
Dean Reynolds v Andy Roberts
Jonathan Worsley v Dave Prins
Damian Smith v Brian Woods
Neil Smith v Steve Maish
Ryan Meikle v Vincent Kamphuis
Gareth Pass v Dave Parletti
2017 Coral UK Open
Hogan/Brown v Jamie Lewis
Claydon/Barham v Scott Taylor
Daryl Gurney v Ryan Palmer
Evans/Davidson v Meulenkamp/Lam
Devon Petersen v Leung/Wattimena
Hewson/Edhouse v Jan Dekker
Ted Evetts v Dawson/Milford
Zoran Lerchbacher v Matthew Dennant
Layton/Newell v D Smith/Woods
Carroll/Walsh v Robertson/Tabern
Pilgrim/Green v Caven/Read
Meeuwisse/Biggs v Worsley/Prins
Vincent van der Voort v Eastwood/Wilson
Meikle/Kamphuis v Justin Pipe
David Pallett v Andy Jenkins
Steve Lennon v William O'Connor
Davis/Harvey v Ross Twell
Cartwright/Padgett v Martin Lukeman
Kirk Shepherd v Mark Barilli
Peter Hudson v John Michael
Terry Jenkins v Jones/Bryant
Alcinas/Richardson v N Smith/Maish
Mark Webster v Stephen Bunting
Murray/Ferrell v Andrew Gilding
Pass/Parletti v Roy/Edwards
Rowley/Baxter v Richard North
Frost/Bain v McKirdy/Clayton
Bambrick/Bell v Robert Thornton
Mick McGowan v Reynolds/Roberts
Barrie Bates v Jeffrey de Graaf
Dirk van Duijvenbode v Stuart Kellett
Johnson/de Zwaan v Haines/Morris