Sunday 14 June 2020

Some brief thoughts on the Challenge Tour

Just been watching a bit of the German Superleague - passed on the Clemens/Bilderl game, which was as one sided as you might have thought, but the standard on the finals day is so much better than the group stages, it's almost night and day - we're not seeing tons and tons of legs drag past 18 darts, the conventional averages are high, it's all very watchable. The semis are Clemens/Kurz and Horvat/Unterbuchner, which you might have expected, maybe Klose having won his group could have kept things a bit closer and perhaps Siepmann could have taken Dragutin out, but he didn't. That first semi should be quality, I think I'll tune into the whole event.

So, why am I going on about the Challenge Tour now? Basically, I've had a thought similar to what I posted briefly about regarding the German event a couple of days ago. Why does the Challenge Tour need to be a free for all?

The big problem the Challenge Tour has had is that it's hugely oversubscribed - at least for the first few events, I'm sure the numbers drop a bit once we get towards the end of the season and lesser players realise they're not going to finish high enough up to get any perks. As such, rather than just one level of Challenge Tour, why don't we have two?

In such a system, I would be thinking that you cap a Challenge Tour tier 1 event at 128 players, just like the Pro Tour. Let's say that the top 24 from last season's CT (minus players who got onto the tour obv) and the top 24 points scorers from Q-School (split between however many venues they use) get a free pass to every event. That leaves 80 spots to fill the field. Have the first weekend operate as normal - logistically it makes sense to have four events over three days, one tournament Friday, one tournament then play down to last 64 in a second on Saturday, then play that to its conclusion and a further event on Sunday. If, of course, they don't do like I've suggested previously and schedule that first weekend either immediately before or after the Dutch Open in the Netherlands.

The second weekend is then held with just 128 players per tournament over a weekend (with 32 boards, two per day is very easy), containing the 48 players by right, and 80 filled up from the Challenge Tour Order of Merit. Of those 80, the top 40 can stay on to the next weekend, and the bottom 40 don't get to play - these are replaced by 40 players who have won their way through a second tier event, either run at the same time or in between the two.

Repeat these cycles, although in each one you'd only consider money won from the previous weekend so that players who've just "promoted" have a chance to stay up, if you want to play the full Challenge Tour you have to earn your way in and get results.

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