Ranking money at risk at 2020 World Matchplay

Gary Anderson

There's plenty of ranking money at stake as PDC action returns to the big stage at the 2020 Betfred World Matchplay, explains official PDC stats analyst Christopher Kempf.

The four month break from PDC action has changed the complexion of the PDC Order of Merit, and now 32 players will participate in the event with the second-largest ranking impact of any tournament on the calendar.

World Matchplay ranking money at risk

Two years ago, Gary Anderson triumphed in the longest, and one of the most impressive matches, ever witnessed on stage in Blackpool.

Lifting his first World Matchplay title allowed him to continue to enter limited numbers of ProTour events (and no European Tour events) while maintaining his top ten ranking.

That position is very much at risk as the first World Matchplay held away from Blackpool takes place from Saturday.

If Anderson does not reach the semi-finals, he will be certain to fall down to at least 12th on the Order of Merit, the lowest ranking position held by the two-time World Champion in six years.

Having earned less than 1% of his current Order of Merit income from the Summer Series (less than any other top ten player), the stakes are even higher on a solid performance in Milton Keynes.

13 players (including Raymond van Barneveld, who has since retired) appeared at the 2018 World Matchplay but failed to qualify this year.

This list includes Richard North, who faces an automatic loss of 11%, and Kim Huybrechts, who won an epic last-leg decider against John Henderson two years ago in Blackpool, but will drop out of the top 40 when the £11,000 disappears from his total.

Mervyn King

But perhaps the most surprising omission from the 2020 field is Mervyn King, who has failed to qualify for this event for the first time since joining the PDC in 2007.

No other top 32 player earned less in the Summer Series than King, who now must scrape together enough income from future ProTour events to qualify for other televised tournaments this year.

The departure of Huybrechts, North and King from the World Matchplay stage is a boost to players like world number 57 Justin Pipe, whose qualification could be the difference between retaining and losing his Tour Card at the end of the year.

The guaranteed £10,000 earnings has the same ranking impact as winning a Players Championship event.

Vincent van der Voort's minimum earnings will be enough to push John Henderson out of a provisional seeded position at the 2020/21 World Championship.

Danny Noppert will be guaranteed to break £200,000 in Order of Merit income for the first time and will have a shot at breaking into the top 20.

Jose De Sousa

Ryan Joyce, a last-minute World Matchplay qualifier, will see his ranking position improve by at least 9%, but no player is on as meteoric a trajectory as Jose de Sousa, who has managed a 20% increase in his ranking money in just one week.

By virtue of their seedings, Nathan Aspinall, Krzysztof Ratajski and Glen Durrant are each presented with a tremendous opportunity to vault even higher in the world rankings, not only because they will not have to face a seed themselves until the second round at the earliest, but also because none of these three players played in the 2018 World Matchplay.

Consider the plausible scenario of any of these men reaching a semi-final; Ratajski would reach almost £300,000 in Order of Merit earnings and fall just outside the top ten; both he and Durrant could conceivably jump ahead of 2018 runner-up Mensur Suljovic.

As for Aspinall, very little separates him from the world number four spot in prize money, though he is some distance behind Michael van Gerwen, Gerwyn Price and Peter Wright at the very top of the rankings.

Aspinall and Durrant have no money to defend until February 2021 by virtue of their two-year Tour Cards, and thus can further improve their already favourable positions as low seeds for future ranking events.

Michael van Gerwen

If there is one person likely to be little affected by the outcome of the tournament, it is Van Gerwen. His shock elimination at the hands of Jeffrey de Zwaan in 2018 means that he will automatically gain £3,000 on the Order of Merit due to the growth of the prize fund.

Even winning his first World Matchplay title in four years would only extend his already huge lead as world number one over Wright, and even then not to his highest Order of Merit value.

Price, however, could conceivably take over as world number two by winning the title, assuming he gets a little help from Wright's first-round opponent De Sousa.

As with the 2020 World Championship, a possible Wright v Price semi-final could determine the winner of the tournament, and set the course for the remaining five months of darts in 2020.

Follow Christopher on Twitter @ochepedia.

The Betfred World Matchplay will be broadcast live on Sky Sports, RTL7, DAZN and the PDC's worldwide broadcast partners.