BDO World Darts champion Stephen Bunting to join PDC circuit; targets Premier League place
Lakeside World Darts champion Stephen Bunting has confirmed that he is leaving the BDO to join the PDC.
Last Updated: 23/01/14 7:17pm
The 28-year-old had previously stated his desire to defend his BDO title after beating Alan Norris in the Lakeside final earlier this month.
But the lure of the extra earnings available on the PDC Pro Tour circuit has persuaded Bunting to make the switch.
"It's been an absolutely massive decision for me to make and a very difficult decision," Bunting told www.pdc.tv.
"I've been tearing my hair out for the last two weeks and my decision was only made on Wednesday night, which shows how tough it was.
"I've always looked at the PDC and seen the money involved, and my family were a big influence in my decision - my son Toby was cheering, so it shows that the family are excited!
"I've loved my time in the BDO. I've won everything I can in the BDO now and was just looking for a new challenge.
"The Lakeside's a trophy that I've been chasing for so many years now. People used to ask me when I would be joining the PDC circuit, but I always said that I wanted to win Lakeside first, and now I've done it I think the time is right to make the switch over.
"If I was going to join the PDC, the best time to do it was as world champion.
"If you want to become more professional and get more TV coverage, this was the move to make. I'm really looking forward to the new challenge and let's see what I can do against the big boys.
"Phil Taylor's been a fantastic ambassador for the sport for a lot of years and Michael van Gerwen's up there with him now, and I wanted a piece of that pie to be honest.
"I know I'm good enough to compete with the likes of them, so I'm relishing the chance to take them on.
"It would be nice to qualify for all the TV events and then hopefully in the next few years I can break into the Premier League too.
"That's a big ambition. The thing that appeals to me more than anything about the Premier League is that there's a venue in Liverpool, and to play in front of my home crowd in the next few years would be absolutely amazing."
PDC chairman Barry Hearn tweeted: "Welcome Stephen Bunting to the PDC. Exciting times for darts and I'm delighted he is joining the PDC Pro Tour."
Bunting, who lifted his first world title with a 7-4 victory over the unseeded Norris, insisted last week that he would be staying with the BDO.
"This is the main tournament for me, it's the home of world darts", he said. "To finally have my name on this trophy, I want to defend it.
"I won't need to travel the circuit so much now thanks to my win but hopefully the exhibitions will come with the trophy."