Wayne Mardle insists there is 'no right way' of doing things after Premier League darts changes
"There's no right way so people have just got to swallow it and get on with it. They're going to end up watching it anyway because it's great fun and it's darts. Let's just enjoy the darts"
Last Updated: 05/02/19 4:40pm
Wayne 'Hawaii 501' Mardle insists there is "no right way" of doing things following the announcement that nine contenders will take the place of Gary Anderson in this year's Premier League.
Two-time Premier League champion Anderson was forced to withdraw from this year's campaign due to a back injury.
It was later announced by the PDC that the Scot would be replaced by nine contenders, as future and local players make their debut in the tournament.
Chris Dobey, Glen Durrant, Steve Lennon, Luke Humphries, John Henderson, Nathan Aspinall, Max Hopp, Dimitri van den Bergh and Jeffrey de Zwaan will each take part in one evening during the opening nine nights.
Who the nine contenders play and where:
- Chris Dobey vs Mensur Suljovic (Newcastle)
- Daryl Gurney vs Glen Durrant (Glasgow)
- Steve Lennon vs Peter Wright (Dublin)
- Luke Humphries vs Gerwyn Price (Exeter)
- Michael van Gerwen vs John Henderson (Aberdeen)
- Nathan Aspinall vs Michael Smith (Nottingham)
- Max Hopp vs Raymond van Barneveld (Berlin)
- James Wade vs Dimitri van den Bergh (Rotterdam)
- Rob Cross v Jeffrey de Zwaan (Rotterdam)
And Mardle says as the Premier League is an invitation event outside of the top four in the world, then those players who have been left upset at not being picked should not dwell over it.
"It's a bit like any event where it's the luck of the draw, this just happens to be a league phase. But I like the fact that they've added importance to it for it rather than it be a glorified exhibition where there is actually points available for the league players and there will be bonuses for the contenders, so there is incentive there and I quite like that," said Sky Sports' analyst, Mardle.
"I don't think there is a right way of doing it. Other players who might think they should be involved have to realise that there have been world number sixes and world number sevens' who have been left out before and I have been one of them.
"If you're not in the top four then you're fortunate to get in because it's purely done on an invitation basis so no one should really feel bad about being left out. The guys that are in it deserve to be in it.
"Simon Whitlock has been going on like he's been left out and it's been out of order, but not really, it's an invitation. Let them invite who they like. I don't have a problem with it personally.
"All I want to see is the competition being competitive and I think they've realised over the years that rather inviting the same people and getting the same outcome, they'd rather invite somebody else and take their chances.
"The likes of Glen Durrant has been picked because he's a three-time world champion and has just won a PDC tour card. The others are more or less on the up, even Steve Lennon and John Henderson.
"There is a case for Dave Chisnall, Simon Whitlock, Adrian Lewis and Ian White to play in it but they've picked players that are on the up and have caught the eye recently. There's no right way so people have just got to swallow it and get on with it. They're going to end up watching it anyway because it's great fun and it's darts. Let's just enjoy the darts."
1. Can anyone stop Michael van Gerwen?
2. Is there anyone to challenge him now that the second best player on the planet is not playing?
3. Will Rob Cross improve to become a force?
4. Is Barney going to go out with a bang or with a whimper?
5. Which one of the nine challengers are going to make their mark?
Wayne's big questions
German superstar Max Hopp, who reached the semi-finals of the European Championship, takes on Raymond van Barneveld in Berlin, with the Dutch legend playing in his final year on the tour.
Mardle says Hopp taking on Barney in Berlin will hopefully raise the roof after a dour night in front of 12,000 fans last year.
"Barney and Hopp is the one for me and it's also one horrible, horrible draw for Barney," he said. "That is like playing Michael van Gerwen in Rotterdam. It's such a big game and Hopp knows that Barney is retiring and he is not getting any better. Barney knows that Hopp could have the world at his feet in a couple of years' time.
"I think this is the game. I'm already looking forward to it and Barney has a lot to prove this year.
"If Hopp can relax and play like we know he can then he could beat Barney in Berlin. Hopefully that will lift the crowd because it was deadly silent last year."
Mardle added: "Going back to why the contenders have been picked, it's to also get the crowd involved, to make it more of a spectacle, to see if they can handle the pressure. Before people start knocking it we have to give it a try first.
"Of those players that are coming in, there is going to be someone who will stand out. They will walk up to the oche with all the swagger in the world, they're going to beat their more illustrious opponent, they're going to make them look amateurish, they're going to walk off thinking 'this is for me'. And if they have a decent 2019 that will put them in great shape for the 2020 Premier League."
The Premier League action gets underway on February 7 in Newcastle. You can also stay up to date with all the action by following us @SkySportsDarts and get all the latest news, previews and interviews www.skysports.com/darts