Top 5 Darkhorse’s in the PDC this season
By Ben Mathias
Since the start of last season, we have seen 8 different winners in TV events, with 4 new winners in amongst them in Jose de Sousa, Dimitri van den Bergh, Glen Durrant and Jonny Clayton. Many fans wouldn’t have predicted these winners, as such a big share in TV events usually go to Michael van Gerwen in years gone by. With that said, let’s have a deeper look at 5 players who may not be familiar to casual fans who could make the breakthrough towards winning on TV.
The African Warrior is something of a stalwart when it comes to experience. He’s had his professional tour card for 6 years and did briefly have one 4 years prior to that. Petersen may be known for his flamboyant dancing to Shakira’s Waka Waka song during his walk-on but since the start of last season, his form has been his biggest talking point and he has notably improved. He picked up his maiden PDC Title at the German Darts Championship last year, beating Jonny Clayton in the final where he averaged over 100 and added £25,000 to his ranking. Petersen also impressed on the TV stage last season, reaching the Last 16 in the Grand Slam, Grand Prix and World Championships. Petersen has already reached the Quarter Finals of the first TV Major this season in the UK Open, narrowly losing out 10-9 to world number 1 and World Champion Gerwyn Price.
Luke Humphries looks ready to make the transition from World Youth Champion to PDC Title winner this year. Just 3 months into the season and Cool Hand Luke has already reached two finals. He lost out to James Wade in his first televised major final at the UK Open Final 11-5 and Gerwyn Price in Players Championship 6 8-5. Humphries has been making steady strides on the tour since winning his tour card in 2018, like knocking Rob Cross out of the World Championships, whilst Cross was defending champion in 2019. In 2020, Humphries became the first Challenger to win in the Premier League. Humphries is on the verge of breaking into the illustrious top 32 as he currently occupies the 34th spot and is looking to make his debut in some big tv events such as the World Matchplay and the Grand Prix. After already making finals this year, Humphries has shown he can be a real threat for even these big events.
‘The Riot’ was coming into this season as a second-year tour card holder who has previously found success on the PDC’s Challenge Tour and Development Tour. The 22-year-old then went on to find success in the second Pro Tour event of the season in 2021, beating Nathan Aspinall in the Semi Final and form player Jonny Clayton in the Final. Rydz didn’t average anything below 90 in his 7 games to victory, which is a testament to his ability. He is also an enjoyable player to watch as he possesses a quick throw that’s also easy on the eye. After a player wins their tour card, they must be placed within the top 64 after 2 years in order to keep it and continue playing on the tour. Rydz is already ranked 57 and still has over three quarters of this season left. This is impressive as keeping your tour card is very difficult and yet he’s done it with a large portion of the season to spare. Considering this and his recent victory on the Pro Tour, Rydz could be one to watch on TV in the coming years.