BDO to PDC: Hit or Miss of arrowsmiths that previously starred at Lakeside
The 2016 Grand Slam of Darts is almost upon us, and the annual tournament will see the best of both the PDC and BDO go up against each other on the oche in Wolverhampton for the trophy and £100k first-place prize.
It’s always an intriguing occasion, as the two darting organisations are famed for not getting on ever since the former led by the likes of Phil Taylor split off from the latter in 1993 and became the rapidly growing enterprise that it is now.
However, stars still cross over from both sides on a yearly basis to try their hand at something different.
So, Coral have picked out 10 stars that spent enough time in the BDO and/or made enough impression before moving to the PDC – after John Part made the leap in 1997 – and determine whether they were a hit or miss.
Andy Fordham: Miss
We start off with one of the most iconic and loved arrowsmiths in the sport, Fordham, who was BDO world champion back in 2004 after claiming the World Masters five years before.
At the peak of his powers he was one of the best in the world, but perhaps chose the wrong time to test out his skills in the PDC when he took his chances from 2009-2011, which ultimately make him a miss.
His well-publicised battle with alcohol did not help and, after making no notable progress in any events, eventually took a break from the sport.
However, The Viking returned to his first love the BDO in 2013 and is once again making an impression, even qualifying for last year’s Grand Slam where he beat Wayne Jones.
Raymond van Barneveld: Hit
From one legend to another, there is no doubting that Barney is one of the greatest ever to have played the game, perhaps only behind Taylor.
People often forget that the mercurial Dutchman (28/1 to win this year’s Grand Slam) spent nearly two decades in the BDO before finally joining the rest that formed the PDC in 2006.
After claiming four Lakeside world titles and 11 other majors, he decided he’d won everything he could so could he do the same against the likes of Taylor?
Van Barneveld certainly could, and made an immediate impression after winning the UK Open that year as well as the 2007 World Championship. Now aged 49, he’s no longer at the top of his game, but Barney will certainly be happy with his haul of six major titles.
Ted Hankey: Miss
Hankey is another multiple BDO world champion on this list, with two in 2000 and 2009, and took his time to cross over to the PDC too.
Having been in the BDO since 1996, The Count finally decided he’d had enough and even suggested his final campaign in the 2012 World Championship was sabotaged with the air conditioning turned on.
However, his spell in the PDC was short-lived too after suffering from health issues like Fordham, though he did make a memorable run to the quarter-finals of 2013 Grand Slam, before returning to BDO after his tour card expired.
John Part: Hit
Unlike the above three, it didn’t take long for Part to join the so-called ‘darting elite’ – four years to be exact.
The Canadian is undoubtedly the greatest player in history from outside of Europe with three world titles in total, including the first in the BDO since the likes of Taylor, Eric Bristow and Dennis Priestly formed the PDC.
Darth Maple initially struggled in both organisations after claiming the 1994 World Championship, though, as it took him until 2001 to reach another final – the PDC edition.
Part is still a part-time player on the PDC circuit, but spends most of his time as a pundit and commentator now for the sport’s major events.
Mervyn King: Hit
Three-time BDO major title champion King may not have won a major trophy since his switch to the PDC in 2007, but five final appearances ensure that he certainly knew his way around the organisation.
The twice BDO World Championship runner-up is still going strong aged 50 – most recently reaching the 2016 World Matchplay quarters – but is unlikely to taste success in a premier tournament again.
Steve Beaton: Miss
Another golden oldie, now 52-year-old Beaton was BDO world champion way back in 1996, when he added the title to his World Masters success in 1993 – before plying his trade in the PDC from 2001 ever since.
The Bronzed Adonis did reach the 2009 European Championship final and a few other semis, but has never really come as close as King did to winning a PDC major.
Jelle Klaasen: Miss
On to the newer generation now, Klaasen was once touted as a future star after becoming the youngest ever world champion in 2006 at the age of 21 after beating then four-time winner and title holder Van Barneveld in the final.
However, an almost immediate crossover to the PDC ultimately came too soon while private life controversies have also hindered his progress, with not one major final since to show for yet.
The Cobra has reached four semis, however, inducing in last year’s World Championship, and at the age of 32 can still make his mark.
Michael van Gerwen: Hit
There is no doubting that Van Gerwen has succeeded in the PDC as he rapidly chases a number of Taylor’s seemingly impossible-to-beat records.
While never really known as a great BDO player, MvG did still win the 2006 Masters aged only 17 and became world number one before joining fellow Dutchmen Vincent van der Voort and Klaasen in following Barney the year before to the PDC.
The then-prodigy did take a few years to mature and find his feet, but since 2013 has claimed a whopping 18 major singles event titles, as well as others such as the World Cup and World Series of Darts Finals.
Dominant world number one Van Gerwen, who is most certainly the best player ever in terms of ability, is the 8/11 odds-on favourite to defend his Grand Slam of Darts crown.
Stephen Bunting: Miss
Big things were promised of Bunting too following his switch to the PDC immediately after winning the 2014 World Championship, but The Bullet has so far struggled to fire.
The Liverpudlian is still just 31, though, so has plenty of time on his hands at least match his four BDO major titles, and he has already showed glimpses of what he’s capable of by reaching the World Matchplay and UK Open semis.
Mark Webster: Miss
Welshman Webster is another former BDO champion, in 2008, but, like Bunting has not really fulfilled his promise since switching to the PDC in 2009.
Players Championship final and 2010 World Championship semis appearances are highlights, but The Spider has rarely threatened otherwise.
Again, he is still young aged just 33, but has a lot to improve if he is to challenge the elite once more. Webster is 11/4 to qualify from Group D at this year’s Grand Slam.
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