THE field of automatic qualifiers for the 2017/2018 William Hill World Darts Championship has been confirmed, with Michael van Gerwen the top seed as he defends his title at Alexandra Palace next month.

The World Championship features a 72-player field who will compete from December 14-January 1 at London's Alexandra Palace, challenging for the Sid Waddell Trophy and £1.8 million in prize money.

The top 32 players from the PDC Order of Merit, following the completion of the Players Championship Finals in Minehead on Sunday, qualify by right alongside 16 qualifiers from the one-year ProTour Order of Merit.

They are joined in the first round draw by eight of the international qualifiers, with the remaining 16 players taking part in the preliminary round.

Reigning World Champion and runaway world number one Michael van Gerwen will head the 32 seeded players for Monday evening's first round draw, which will be made live on Sky Sports News.

UK Open champion Peter Wright is the second seed, with two-time World Champion Gary Anderson - last year's beaten finalist - the third seed and World Grand Prix winner Daryl Gurney the fourth seed.

Austria's Mensur Suljovic is seeded fifth ahead of the legendary 16-time World Champion Phil Taylor, who will be seeded sixth for his final World Championship ahead of retirement.

Adrian Lewis, the 2011 and 2012 World Champion, is seeded seventh, with Dave Chisnall eighth, 2007 World Champion Raymond van Barneveld ninth and Australian star Simon Whitlock seeded tenth.

James Wade, Jelle Klaasen, Michael Smith, Benito van de Pas, Alan Norris and Gerwyn Price complete the top 16 seeds, while Rob Cross will make his World Championship debut as the number 20 seed following a remarkable first year on the circuit.

Justin Pipe's run to the semi-finals of the Players Championship Finals has moved him up to 27th in the rankings - creating a potential second round tie with Taylor.

Jonny Clayton's achievement in reaching his first TV final at the Players Championship Finals has seen him break into the world's top 32 for the first time as he returns to Alexandra Palace as the 31st seed.

Clayton's progress knocked Vincent van der Voort out of the world's top 32, although the Dutchman qualifies through the ProTour Order of Merit positions.

Richard North, Peter Jacques, Martin Schindler and Steve Lennon will all make their World Championship debuts at Alexandra Palace after qualifying through the ProTour rankings.

New World Youth Champion Dimitri Van den Bergh and former World Championship finalist Kevin Painter were also amongst the ProTour Order of Merit qualifiers, with the latter holding on to the final spot.

The 72-player field will be completed by three players to come through the PDPA Qualifier on Monday, with the winner to go into the first round and the runner-up and third-placed player going into the preliminary round.

CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS OF THE PRELIMINARY ROUND DRAW

A small number of tickets for the William Hill World Darts Championship are still available - click here for details of standard tickets and Hospitality Packages.

2017/2018 William Hill World Darts Championship
Qualifiers & Draw Numbers
PDC Order of Merit Top 32

1 Michael van Gerwen
2 Peter Wright
3 Gary Anderson
4 Daryl Gurney
5 Mensur Suljovic
6 Phil Taylor
7 Adrian Lewis
8 Dave Chisnall
9 Raymond van Barneveld
10 Simon Whitlock
11 James Wade
12 Jelle Klaasen
13 Michael Smith
14 Benito van de Pas
15 Alan Norris
16 Gerwyn Price
17 Ian White
18 Kim Huybrechts
19 Joe Cullen
20 Rob Cross
21 Stephen Bunting
22 Mervyn King
23 Darren Webster
24 Kyle Anderson
25 Steve Beaton
26 Cristo Reyes
27 Justin Pipe
28 Robert Thornton
29 John Henderson
30 Mark Webster
31 Jonny Clayton
32 James Wilson

ProTour Order of Merit Qualifiers
33 Richard North
34 Vincent van der Voort
35 Christian Kist
36 Ronny Huybrechts
37 Jermaine Wattimena
38 Steve West
39 Zoran Lerchbacher
40 Dimitri Van den Bergh
41 Jan Dekker
42 Keegan Brown
43 James Richardson
44 Peter Jacques
45 Martin Schindler
46 Chris Dobey
47 Steve Lennon
48 Kevin Painter

International Qualifiers
49 Devon Petersen
50 William O'Connor
51 Krzystof Ratajski
52 Kim Viljanen
53 Antonio Alcinas
54 Diogo Portela
55 Marko Kantele
56 PDPA Qualifier Winner
57 Jeff Smith/Luke Humphries
58 PDPA Qualifier Runner-Up/Alan Ljubic
59 Xiao Chen Zong/Bernie Smith
60 Kenny Neyens/PDPA Qualifier Third Place
61 Seigo Asada/Gordon Mathers
62 Kai Fan Leung/Paul Lim
63 Willard Bruguier/Cody Harris
64 Aleksandr Oreshkin/Kevin Munch