Thursday 19 October 2017

PDC Worlds international qualifiers

Today we finally got a bit of clarity as to what the remaining international qualifiers will be for Alexandra Palace, and it's a touch controversial, not only is it a case of them leaving everything until the last minute, with just eight weeks until the tournament kicks off (by contrast the entire BDO field has been announced and they kick off three weeks or so later), but it seems to be somewhat arbitrary as to how they've allocated the spots. Chucking an extra slot to Eastern Europe seems like a case of "get Ratajski in by any means necessary", and chucking one at whatever the NDFC is seems to be a case of giving Jeff Smith a spot on account of him not making the BDO worlds, due to their comically bad system of international qualifiers. A random spot for Africa just seems like a way to invite Devon Petersen, the only mystery is how they didn't give Max Hopp an auto-berth because darts in Germany is huge, presumably they guess he'll win the German qualifier (or the world youth, which seems even less likely). One spot for the Development Tour seems an odd one - there's already a slot for the best young player, i.e. whoever wins the world youth. Surely if you're going to give one to the minor tours you give it to Wayne Jones?

I'm not disputing that any of the players that had spots announce today don't deserve the spots, they're all excellent players on their day (for Ratajski and Smith it's most days, for Petersen less so), and I think we all want the best players on the oche in the biggest event of the season, but it seems a bit odd that they've allocated things in this way. Does anyone actually think that if Ratajski won one more game on the European Tour they'd give a spot to Madars Razma or Nandor Bezzeg, depending on how they define eastern Europe? If Smith had made Lakeside and took that opportunity they'd give a spot to Dion Laviolette? What if Petersen had won the last Pro Tour event from nowhere, would they give a spot to whoever the next best African player is? I'm not even going to try to work out who that might be. The weirdest thing about Ratajski is that they took away the four spots for next best Europeans, and he'd have got the first one of those positions anyway.

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