Wayne Mardle's World Grand Prix of Darts contenders
Last Updated: 02/10/17 12:23am
The World Grand Prix starts up in Dublin on Sunday, live on Sky Sports Arena, and ahead of the action our very own Wayne Mardle assesses the favourites, the contenders, an in-form home favourite and his outside tip for a run to the final.
Unlike all other competitions on the darting circuit, when the players take to the oche in Ireland this weekend they must start each leg by hitting a double.
As such, the Grand Prix is unique and brings a certain challenge with it, one that can cause problems for the very best and throw up the most unexpected of runs through the week.
Three-time champions Michael van Gerwen leads the field and while 11-time champion Phil Taylor is absent, the list of winners is an illustrious one.
Robert Thornton and James Wade are the only men to break the MVG-Taylor monopoly that stretches back to 2004 but Mervyn King, Dave Chisnall and Brendan Dolan have all enjoyed runs to the final with the likes of Justin Pipe, Mensur Suljovic, Mark Webster, Wes Newton and Stephen Bunting have all reach the semi-finals in the last five years.
Wayne Mardle on doubling in Dublin
'There was one leg where I forgot it was double start and I went straight for the treble twenty!'
With all that in mind, we asked Hawaii 501 to break down the field and assess the contenders for this year's title in Dublin.
Michael van Gerwen is the absolute winner until he gets beat! But I find it hard to see him getting beat in this event.
He looks an absolute banker to reach the final unless his countryman Barney can do a number on him.
He [van Barneveld] is the only man in the top half that can beat Michael van Gerwen and if he does beat him then it is wide open.
There are a lot of players in this event that are known for scoring. We've seen Dave Chisnall reach a final in Dublin but his doubling is now worse than it has ever been - he cannot be looking forward to it.
Others like James Wade, his doubling has gone missing too. Of course, they can turn it around we know that.
Gary Anderson is not as hungry as he was a couple of years ago and most people in Gary Anderson's half know that he hasn't played many competitive games.
Adrian [Lewis] has been away from the game for a while and looked really rusty at the Champions League of Darts. Adrian could turn up and put in a stellar performance we know that especially If tops are going in first or second dart he will find a rhythm.
Barney we know is an enigma but Adrian Lewis, James Wade, Dave Chisnall, Jelle Klaasen - some of the top 10 really aren't playing like top 10 players.
The home favourite
You have got to fancy Daryl Gurney against Adrian Lewis - if this was the first round last year you would fancy Adrian but the improvement in Daryl over the last 12 months has been fantastic.
Adrian Lewis is a better player than Daryl Gurney but he has got to go up there and prove it.
Daryl is possibly on the up and hasn't plateaued yet and Adrian is struggling, so with the double-in it's a real leveller.
Everyone has their time when they feel comfortable and they feel like they should be there. Daryl is now beating the players regularly enough to know that he can beat any of them on any given day.
With a lot of the top 10 not performing it doesn't leave many to upset the apple cart and make a step forward in the world rankings, but Gurney is one of those who could.
Rob Cross is a great player and it would not be a surprise if he has a run. It's his first time in Dublin but that didn't stop Mensur Suljovic reaching the semi-final on his debut last year.
I am always of the opinion that you get a player who is good at a double and no matter where they are in the world rankings if it works for them that week then I think they have got a chance.
I backed Robert Thornton at 80/1 when he won it because that year in the Premier League he was lethal on double top and if he finds his tops boots he could definitely make a run.
However the one for me, and I kind of like his draw, is Mervyn King.
He has reached the final before and if his double 16s go like he knows they can he is an absolute handful. It's a tough section but there is no one better on a double than Mervyn on double 16.
The absence of a legend
A real reason it is open is that Phil Taylor is missing, you always looked on him as someone who was going to come through his half of the draw.
With Phil not there that opens it all up even more but they all have to beat van Gerwen, he is the man by a mile.
My two to reach the final are Mervyn King and Barney and that is purely on Mervyn hitting 32 and Barney being as good as we know he can be.
Wayne Mardle was speaking to Sky Sports' Paul Prenderville ahead of the World Grand Prix which gets underway on Sky Sports Arena and Sky Sports Main Event from 7pm on Sunday.
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Follow the action from Dublin's Citywest Hotel through the week up to the final on Saturday October 7 while for those on the move follow our live blogs at www.skysports.com/darts and get involved @SkySportsDarts