Awards Treble For van Gerwen
AWARDS TREBLE FOR VAN GERWEN AS WRIGHT, SMITH & WHITLOCK PICK UP TROPHIES
MICHAEL VAN GERWEN scooped an awards treble as he was named as the PDC Player of the Year at The Dorchester on Monday evening, while Peter Wright claimed two awards and Michael Smith was named as the Young Player of the Year.
New World Champion van Gerwen capped a year which also included victory in the Premier League Darts, Players Championship Finals and Dubai Darts Masters as he rose to number one in the PDC Order of Merit on New Year's Day.
And following his remarkable success during 2013, he was named as the ProTour Player of the Year and PDC Fans' Player of the Year before edging out Phil Taylor - who picked up six major titles last year - to win the prestigious PDC Player of the Year title.
European Champion Adrian Lewis, who also reached the finals of the World Matchplay and The Masters during 2013, and World Grand Prix finalist Dave Chisnall, who rose up to fifth in the PDC Order of Merit, were also nominated for the award.
"It's been an amazing year for me and I'd like to thank everyone who has made this happen, because this is a fantastic moment for me to be named as Player of the Year," said van Gerwen.
"I've worked so hard for this and to be World Champion and number one in the world is amazing. I know what it's like to be ranked number 35 in the world and I've put a lot of work in to get to where I am now.
"I want to stay here but I know it will be very difficult this year."
The Dutch ace also scooped almost 40% of the votes in an online poll at the PDC's official website, www.pdc.tv, as he was named as the Fans' Player of the Year, displaying his worldwide popularity.
And his amazing run of success on last year's PDC ProTour, which saw him win £125,350 in prize money from two European Tour wins, a brace of Players Championship victories and five UK Open Qualifier titles, led to him being a runaway winner of the PDC ProTour Player of the Year title.
"These two awards mean a lot to me too," added van Gerwen. "I've had an amazing reception from fans wherever I've gone and I'm so happy that they voted for me.
"On the ProTour I had a great year too. I'd finished second or third the previous year and I wanted to do even better, so it was great to have so much success last year."
World Championship finalist Wright's rise from 26th in the PDC Order of Merit to seventh during 2013 - which saw him win one Players Championship and reach three other ProTour finals as well as the UK Open semi-finals - was recognised with two awards.
He was named as the PDC's Most Improved Player in a new category, before also being voted by his peers as the PDPA Players' Player of the Year, edging out van Gerwen for that honour.
"I'm a bit lost for words to win two awards," admitted Wright. "I'd said at the start of last year that I wanted to follow the example of Michael van Gerwen in moving up the rankings, and I've done that in some way by getting to seventh.
"I want to move higher now and my next target is to get to number one in the world - but I'll enjoy these awards for now!"
Reigning World Youth Champion Michael Smith, who has risen into the world's top 32 in the last year and knocked out reigning champion Phil Taylor in the World Championship last month, was named as the PDC's Young Player of the Year.
"This is a great award and it means a lot to win it," said Smith. "Winning the World Youth Championship helped my confidence a lot and I'm happy with how I'm progressing so far.
"I'd gone through a spell of always drawing top players, like Phil Taylor or Raymond van Barneveld, in TV events, so to finally beat one of them at the World Championship, and for it to be Phil, was a big moment for me and I want to kick on now."
Australian star Simon Whitlock was awarded the PDC Televised Performance of the Year title, following his miraculous comeback from 9-3 down in his European Championship quarter-final tie with Jamie Caven in July to win 10-9, sealing his seven-leg streak with a 146 checkout in the games' deciding leg.
The night also saw the record number of 24 players who hit a nine-dart finish during the last year recognised with a commemorative pin badge as members of the PDC Nine-Dart Club.
Former Sky Sports commentator John Gwynne, who retired after the World Matchplay last summer, was inducted into the PDC Hall of Fame, where he joins his former colleagues Dave Lanning and the late Sid Waddell.
Gwynne received the honour in recognition of his services to the sport as a broadcaster and journalist as well as his work on the Darts Regulation Authority panel and for his support of the sport throughout three decades.
A television programme featuring the PDC Awards Dinner will be aired on Sky Sports 1 at 6pm on Friday January 24, and will be repeated on Sky Sports throughout the weekend.
Click here for a PDC Annual Awards Dinner Photo Gallery
2014 PDC Annual Awards
Hall of Fame Induction: John Gwynne
The veteran Sky Sports commentator, darts journalist and former member of the Darts Regulation Authority panel was inducted into the PDC Hall of Fame, joining his former Sky Sports colleagues Dave Lanning and the late Sid Waddell.
ProTour Player of the Year: Michael van Gerwen
With £125,350 prize money won, two European Tour triumphs, two Players Championship wins and five UK Open Qualifier victories, Michael van Gerwen was a runaway winner of the ProTour Player of the Year title.
Televised Performance of the Year: Simon Whitlock - partypoker.net European Championship Quarter-Finals
Phil Taylor, BetVictor World Matchplay Final
Phil Taylor & Adrian Lewis - William Hill Grand Slam of Darts Semi-Finals
James Wade - Ladbrokes World Darts Championship Second Round
Most Improved Player: Peter Wright
Fans' Player of the Year: Michael van Gerwen
PDPA Player of the Year: Peter Wright
SILVER PIN BADGES
Awarded to players who hit a nine-darter in a non-televised event
Charl Pietersen - Qualifying School
Andy Parsons - Qualifying School
Kevin McDine - Qualifying School
Robert Thornton - Speedy Services UK Open Q1
Kevin Thomas - Speedy Services UK Open Q2
Gary Anderson - Speedy Services UK Open Q3
Andy Hamilton - Speedy Services UK Open Q3
Kurt Parry - PDC Unicorn World Youth Championship
Michael Smith - PDC Unicorn World Youth Championship
Prakash Jiwa - European Tour Event 3 UK Qualifier
Adam Hunt - European Tour Event 3 UK Qualifier
Joey Palfreyman - European Tour Event 5 UK Qualifier
Steve Brown - Players Championship 5
Ross Smith - Gibraltar Darts Trophy
Gaz Cousins - PDC Unicorn Challenge Tour Event 10
Wes Newton - Gleneagle Hotel Players Championship
Jamie Robinson - World Championship PDPA Qualifier
GOLD PIN BADGES
Awarded to players who hit a nine-darter in a televised event
Wes Newton - Speedy Services UK Open TV Finals
Phil Taylor - Championship League Darts G1
Mervyn King - Championship League Darts G4
Michael van Gerwen - Championship League Darts G4
Kim Huybrechts - Championship League Darts G6
Terry Jenkins - Ladbrokes World Darts Championship
Kyle Anderson - Ladbrokes World Darts Championship
PDC Young Player of the Year: Michael Smith
PDC Player of the Year: Michael van Gerwen
Click here for a PDC Annual Awards Dinner Photo Gallery