Michael Van Gerwen faces Stephen Bunting in World Matchplay opener
By Sky Sports Darts
Last Updated: 20/07/17 12:17pm
Two-time champion Michael Van Gerwen will start his BetVictor World Matchplay campaign against Stephen Bunting, while Phil Taylor will face Gerwyn Price.
The tournament, which will be shown live on Sky Sports, will see a 32-player field competing from July 22-30 at Blackpool's Winter Gardens.
World champion and top seed Van Gerwen has won the tournament for the past two years while 15-time champion Taylor is making his final Winter Gardens appearance ahead of his impending retirement.
James Wade, the number six seed and the only other former World Matchplay winner in the field following his 2007 success, has drawn Darren Webster, who secured his qualification by winning last Saturday's Players Championship.
Five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld, the number nine seed and 2010 finalist, will face Sunday's Players Championship winner Joe Cullen.
Gary Anderson and Peter Wright drew debutants Christian Kist and James Wilson respectively, while 2013 World Matchplay runner-up Adrian Lewis meets veteran star Steve Beaton.
Australian stars Simon Whitlock and Kyle Anderson will meet on the big stage for the first time in a televised ranking event, with the winner set to take on either Van Gerwen or Bunting.
Number five seed Dave Chisnall faces former semi-finalist Mervyn King, while Kim Huybrechts meets Alan Norris and Ian White takes on shooting star Rob Cross in a tough second quarter to the draw alongside Lewis and Beaton.
Number seven seed Mensur Suljovic, last year's European Championship finalist, will meet Scottish ace John Henderson, with Dutchmen Jelle Klaasen and Benito van de Pas coming up against Justin Pipe and Daryl Gurney respectively.
Former World Youth champion Michael Smith and Robert Thornton are seeded in the bottom quarter of the draw, and will meet debutants Steve West and Cristo Reyes in their first round ties.
The schedule of play is yet to be confirmed.
2017 BetVictor World Matchplay draw
Michael van Gerwen (1) v Stephen Bunting
Simon Whitlock (16) v Kyle Anderson
Phil Taylor (8) v Gerwyn Price
Raymond van Barneveld (9) v Joe Cullen
Dave Chisnall (5) v Mervyn King
Kim Huybrechts (12) v Alan Norris
Adrian Lewis (4) v Steve Beaton
Ian White (13) v Rob Cross
Gary Anderson (2) v Christian Kist
Benito van de Pas (15) v Daryl Gurney
Mensur Suljovic (7) v John Henderson
Jelle Klaasen (10) v Justin Pipe
James Wade (6) v Darren Webster
Michael Smith (11) v Steve West
Peter Wright (3) v James Wilson
Don't forget that you can see all the action from the World Matchplay Darts in Blackpool, live on Sky Sports. The arrows run from Saturday July 22 right through until the final on Sunday July 30.
Who will win the World Matchplay at the world famous Empress Ballroom? Let us know your thoughts by tweeting @SkySportsDarts or by using the comments box below - sign in with Facebook. Follow us on Twitter & use #LoveTheDarts