Darts: Phil Taylor features in the World Grand Prix's opening night in Dublin
Ten-time champion Phil Taylor features on the opening night of the World Grand Prix at Dublin's Citywest Hotel tonight.
Last Updated: 08/10/13 9:49am
The £350,000 event, unique for the format which sees players need to both begin and end each leg by hitting a double, will be held across seven days in the Irish Republic's capital, all live on Sky Sports HD.
The first round will be split across Monday and Tuesday evenings, with world No 1 Taylor headlining the opening night as he faces resurgent Jamie Caven, who has won two ranking titles this year.
"I'd love to win the World Grand Prix again," said Taylor, who was knocked out in the second round by Robert Thornton 12 months ago. "It's one of my favourite tournaments - I love the World Grand Prix.
"It's a great format, as long as you're playing well. If you start missing and don't kick in with your doubles (in the first three darts) then trust me, it's one of the loneliest places in the world."
Taylor has previously lost three times in the short best-of-three set first round in the double-start event, and is expecting a tough test against Caven.
"When you look at the draw now, every game's juicy," he said. "You've got all the top players playing each other in the first round, where this wouldn't have happened years ago.
"You'd get through a couple of stages before meeting top players. Now it's straight in, and my first round's like a final to me, that's how important it is - Jamie's a good player, he's gutsy and he's no mug."
Two-time World Grand Prix champion James Wade is also in action on Monday night, when he takes on Steve Beaton, a former semi-finalist in the event who ended four years without a ranking event victory recently in Germany.
The 2004 World Grand Prix winner Colin Lloyd kicks off the tournament against Ronnie Baxter, world number four Simon Whitlock meets Northern Ireland's Michael Mansell and number eight seed Wes Newton plays Peter Wright, the colourful Scot who reached Sunday's Players Championship final in Dublin.
Also in action
Irish ace Connie Finnan takes on two-time finalist Terry Jenkins, and Thornton plays Paul Nicholson in the opening night's other fixture.
Tuesday's remaining eight games from the first round will be headlined by reigning champion van Gerwen's meeting with Canadian legend John Part, a three-time World Champion and twice a finalist in this event.
Van Gerwen's triumph in last year's World Grand Prix final, when he came from 4-2 down to win 6-4 in sets against Mervyn King, proved the springboard for an amazing 12 months which has included his Premier League Darts triumph, ten other wins and runs to the World Championship and Grand Slam of Darts finals.
"It's been a fantastic year for me and it's a great feeling coming back to Dublin as the reigning champion," said van Gerwen. "I've prepared well and I'm very confident but I know I'll have a tough game against John because he's a fantastic player.
"It's probably the hardest tournament to win because of the double-start, but I enjoy it and I'm really looking forward to the week."
You can watch the World Grand Prix all week on Sky Sports HD1 from 19.00