Sunday 17 March 2019

A brief thought on the World Cup

This has occurred to me just now, I might have mentioned this before, but I'm not sure, so if I am repeating myself it's at least in a new post for clarity. Now I'm not a fan of the World Cup concept particularly, mainly because I hate doubles in most forms of sport, but what I have an issue with right now is nothing to do with the format, it's more to do with where it can get you.

Now since van Gerwen has become peak van Gerwen, or at least since 2014, the Netherlands have reached the final all but one year. Every year, Barney has been van Gerwen's partner - even when Barney has not been the number 2 ranked player in his country, if we recall back to when Klaasen was last decent and Klaasen didn't play because reasons. Barney is clearly not the number 2 player in the Netherlands right now - Wattimena, Klaasen and even Benito van de fucking Pas are ranked higher than Barney is in the official rankings, so clearly shouldn't be selected. If we look below him, de Zwaan is playing better than he is, in the FRH rankings Noppert ranks higher than Barney, van der Voort's only one place below him as well.

But wait, you say, this is just an unranked invitational, there is nothing wrong with the PDC inviting whoever they like in order to increase ratings. This is true - but this is a team event. In all likelihood, van Gerwen will be able to carry whoever his partner is to the final. The problem comes when the PDC, in their infinite wisdom, do this:

This is the qualification route for the Grand Slam of Darts (or at least Wikipedia's interpretation of it). Which is a ranking event. It seems incredibly likely that Barney will qualify for precisely zero ranking events that would count for this (maybe the European Championship is about his only shot), and have no other way in - but if he reaches the final as a result of being the partner of the best player in the world, Barney will get a spot in the Grand Slam - which, with the BDO having lost all their best players, likely means that Barney will just have to beat a PDC wildcard qualifier to reach the last sixteen, with a minimum of ten grand of ranking money to go with it.

If Barney does the following:

1) Is selected for the World Cup because Barry likes money
2) Doesn't qualify for the Grand Slam by any other method (it wouldn't be ridiculous for him to bink a Euro Tour event or something like that) other than the Netherlands reaching the final
3) Wouldn't have reached the worlds through the Pro Tour rankings
4) Does reach the top 32 in the world purely as a result of ranking money from the Grand Slam

Which, to be fair, isn't that ridiculous an accumulator, if I was whoever is number 33 in the world as a result and have to play in the first round, or whoever would have been number 32 in the Pro Tour rankings and misses out completely because that said number 33 in the world gets kicked back to the Pro Tour rankings, I'd be furious. Now if Barney had got through from an invitational singles event, that's fine - if he'd somehow reached the final of the Premier League, then he's done it off his own back based on his own darting ability, and it's fine. But getting there because you happen to be the same nationality of the best player who's ever lived and were quite good a decade ago isn't right in the slightest.

This is also not to mention how unfair it would be on someone like Wattimena, who should be in the side on merit and would also miss out on the potential benefits of being in the Grand Slam as a result.

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