Grand Slam of Darts to feature leading amateurs in 2021, says PDC chairman Barry Hearn
PDC chairman Barry Hearn joined the latest episode of The Darts Show Podcast and discussed the issues surrounding the 2021 Grand Slam of Darts, and future opportunities for amateur and female players in the PDC
Last Updated: 08/04/21 8:11am
Barry Hearn says the Grand Slam of Darts will retain its format of featuring players from outside the PDC going forward.
Traditionally, the major tournament has pitted the best of the PDC against the BDO's elite. The latter organisation entered liquidation last year, and its 2020 World Championship was the last edition of the tournament.
The 2020 BDO world champions, Wayne Warren and Mikuru Suzuki, were invited to last November's Grand Slam.
However, there is doubt surrounding the qualification criteria for non-PDC players for 2021 and beyond.
"The Grand Slam was always supposed to be the two codes - the amateur code and the professional codes together," PDC chairman Barry Hearn told The Darts Show Podcast.
"And I think it worked. I think it created a unique tournament. Clearly and unfortunately the amateur game has virtually folded.
"There are plans ahead to reinvent through the WDF and other organisations the amateur game. And we would support that if they acknowledge that they are the amateur game.
"We hope that we'll see a Grand Slam with the leading amateurs in it as we did before, but selected on a different criteria. And we will be working with whoever decides that they want to put the time in to make the amateur game strong. We will be working with them and I hope we'll be helpful with them as well."
And Hearn revealed there are already plans in place for this year's tournament.
"This year's version I'm sure will feature some top amateurs," he said. "It's a question of how they're selected. We need to know who the top amateurs are. And to achieve that, we need to see results or some sort of criteria for selection.
"But the principle of the pick of the amateurs against the world's best, I think it works."
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Where to next for women's darts?
Meanwhile, Hearn was quizzed about the progression of the women's darts. In 2020, a 'women's series' was held as qualifiers for the PDC World Championship.
But are there plans to introduce more women's tournaments?
"What we're doing with the ladies game, firstly, we're gender-neutral," Hearn said. "Lisa Ashton, it was a massive breakthrough for her to actually win a Tour Card. Hopefully that can inspire other women. There's things that we can do, and there's things that we have to rely on the women themselves to do.
"This is not an easy life, it's a competitive sport. We're not in this sport to create mediocrity, we're in it for excellence. So it does fall back on the ladies to be better and to improve.
"We will certainly give them opportunities with qualifiers for the World Championships. I think there will be some other involvement, probably not until 2022 bearing in mind Covid and all the other disruption we've had.
"But the women's game is very much on our mind, providing they are at a level which is entertaining and competitive.
"It's all about people improving themselves, not waiting for other people giving them a hand-out. They've got to show they are for real, and they mean business. Then there will be opportunities."
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