The defining nights of the World Darts Championship

This year's PDC World Darts Championship will see the world's best darts players descend on Alexandra Palace, with a field that includes reigning champion Michael Smith, Michael van Gerwen and Gerwyn Price among a host of other star names.

Every dart thrown will be shown live on the Sky Sports Darts channel from Friday, December 15.

Here's your guide to the history of the biggest tournament there is in darts...

The first World Championship | January 1994

Then known as the WDC, the PDC's inaugural World Darts Championship in 1994 saw 24 players from around the globe competing in group and knockout phases at the Circus Tavern, with Dennis 'The Menace' Priestley ultimately crowned champion.

Dedication. Concentration. Application. Once in a generation, someone special comes along. A product of his environment. A talent like no other...

"And now ladies and gentlemen, from Stoke-on-Trent, England, it's time to meet a legend. Dominating the world of darts for over three decades, the winner of over 100 televised finals, it's time to meet the record-breaking, history-making 16-time champion of the world... Phil 'The Power' Taylor."

1990 & 1992

It all started in the BDO version of the World Championship at Lakeside for Taylor. His first title came against his mentor, the 'Crafty Cockney' Eric Bristow. The 29-year-old unemployed engineer stunned the darting world by demolishing the five-time champion 6-1.

Taylor exited at the quarter-final stage a year later, but returned to claim his second title at Frimley Green in a 6-5 deciding-leg classic against Mike Gregory. This, after his opponent had missed six darts to win the title himself.

Taylor's darting dynasty begins


After losing in the inaugural PDC final at the Circus Tavern in Purfleet against Priestley, Taylor returned even more determined than ever. He beat Rod Harrington 6-2 in 1995 before exacting his revenge over 'The Menace' 6-4 and then inflicting two further defeats on the same opponent in the final, 6-3 followed by a 6-0 romp.


Taylor claimed his seventh world title with victory over Surrey newsagent Peter Manley 6-2 and then crushed Priestley's dreams for a fourth time in 2000 thanks to a 7-3 win.

A year later, 'Darth Maple' John Part won only three legs as he was whitewashed 7-0 by a rampant Taylor, who then crushed Manley for the second time in four years with another 7-0 scoreline. 'One Dart' was left so infuriated by the loss that he refused to shake Taylor's hand on the stage.

Part ends the streak

Part was the man who put a halt to Taylor's run of eight consecutive titles when he became the first overseas player to win the title in 2003. The Canadian defeated Taylor 7-6 in a thriller.

It was a second overall for 'Darth Maple', as he'd claimed the BDO title in 1994, while he'd triumph again in 2008, beating qualifier Kirk Shepherd in the final.

Taylor bests Painter in 2004

Taylor reclaimed the crown after edging Kevin Painter in a sudden-death leg which will live long in the memory.

With 'The Artist' left on 128, Taylor came to the oche needing 40. He missed tops, double 10, before sealing victory with a nerveless double 5 with his last dart to claim his 11th world title.

He then announced his retirement from darts but performed a dramatic U-turn four days later.

Further success in 2005 & 2006

Taylor faced surprise finalist Mark Dudbridge at the summit of darts a year later, but despite a valiant effort from the 13th seed, it was Taylor who prevailed 7-4 to claim the £60,000 first prize with his 12th title.

And he was back for more 12 months later. Taken all the way by Wayne 'Hawaii 501' Mardle in the semi-finals, coming through 6-5, once more it Manley waiting for him in the final. But, once again, the imperious Taylor produced another 7-0 whitewash.

Greatest match ever?

Less than a year after four-time Lakeside champion Raymond van Barneveld joined the PDC, he faced off against Taylor in the 2007 final. Understandably, the game is often described as the greatest match of all time, with the Dutchman winning the contest in a sudden-death deciding leg.

"Of all the finals I've played in, I would probably put this one as the best," said Taylor. "In the last leg, when I kicked in with 180, I thought 'I've got you now', but he hit a 180 back.

"It was probably the best final leg I've ever played in."

Darts was bigger than ever and by 2008 the tournament had moved from the Circus Tavern in Purfleet to the iconic Alexander Palace. But the omens were not good for Taylor, who failed to reach the final of the competition for the first time in PDC history after losing a rip-roaring encounter 5-4 to Mardle in the quarter-finals.

Back to the top in 2009 & 2010

After a three-year gap without winning, Taylor reached his first final at Ally Pally in 2009 was in the mood for revenge, hammering Van Barneveld 7-1 as well as setting a world-record average for a tournament final of 110.94.

And he was quickly back for more, sealing another title triumph in 2010, this time over first-time finalist Simon Whitlock 7-3 to claim the biggest prize of his career to date, pocketing a cool £1m.


After losing to Mark Webster in the quarter-finals in 2011 and suffering a second-round exit to Dave Chisnall a year later - both tournaments won by Adrian Lewis - Taylor's final title triumph came against a 23-year-old Michael van Gerwen in 2013. In the final, he came back from 4-2 down to defeat the up-and-coming Dutchman, sealing victory on double 16.

"I'm probably the proudest man in the world," said Taylor. "I've got to give Michael everything, he's phenomenal that kid. Michael is one of the best players I've seen in my career."

Taylor suffered a huge upset by losing to world No 32 Michael Smith in 2014, but returned a year later to reach his 20th World Championship final.

Gary Anderson had beaten Taylor in the Players Championship Finals and 'The Flying Scotsman' came out on top when they met again in the 2015 final with an unforgettable 7-6 victory.

Darts' elder statesman suffered a disappointing third-round exit to Jelle Klaasen in 2016 and he then bowed out to old foe Van Barneveld at the quarter-final stage the following year.

Bidding farewell in 2018

Taylor arrived at the tournament a mid-range bet to achieve the most successful of farewells, but watched on as those tipped to topple him disappeared. He beat Gary Anderson, while the man most expected to keep Taylor at bay, Michael van Gerwen, lost to Rob Cross in a semi-final blockbuster.

The 27-year-old Cross, who was not even born when Taylor won his first world title in 1990, then produced a stunning performance to claim a 7-2 victory in the final.

Despite the defeat, Taylor's standing as the greatest ever remained firmly intact.

Bristow's last hurrah

Five-time World Champion Eric Bristow took on Taylor in a memorable World Championship semi-final clash in 1997 between mentor and protégé, with Taylor running out a 5-4 winner.

Manley oversteps the mark?

Peter Manley very publicly stepped over the mark during his 2006 World Championship quarter-final clash against a young Adrian Lewis. 'One Dart' was accused of gamesmanship against Taylor's protégé. He muttered words as Lewis prepared to throw, resulting in him leaving the stage visibly upset.

"I basically turned around and asked Adrian to stop tutting, which he disagreed with, and it quickly turned into a pantomime style 'you was, you wasn't, you was, you wasn't' and he just carried it on. I was beating him and in control of the game. Everything was going my way and I had no concerns, but I had no idea he was going to walk off stage," Manley told Sky Sports.

Manley's mind games worked in the end, eventually securing a 5-3 victory, but he would go on to lose 7-0 to Lewis' mentor Taylor in that year's final.

Emotion from Mardle

Heading into their 2007 World Championship quarter-final, Phil Taylor had knocked Wayne Mardle out of three of the last four World Championships...

But this was to be Mardle's night.

"The strange thing about darts is that you don't know how you're going to feel from millisecond to millisecond, so that's why players throw poor darts after throwing good ones," Mardle said.

"But every now and again you feel comfortable about the next five, 10 or 20 seconds and I felt comfortable. I wasn't throwing at double 18 to win the match. I was throwing at double 18 to hit it and I felt that I would hit it and I happened to win the match."

Mardle continued: "Phil Taylor was on 170 but I just knew in my heart of hearts, he wasn't playing well enough to get it so I hit the 140, give it the big-un, left the 36 and I remember thinking 'I'll get this' and I just threw.

"To beat Phil at the World Championship will live long in the memory and I love double 18."

Lewis' World Championship final nine-darter

Adrian Lewis became the first player to hit a nine-darter in a final.

'Jackpot' raised the roof as he hit perfection during the 2011 World Championship final against Gary Anderson, going on to defeat the Scot 7-5.

Part airbrushed back into Ally Pally history

John Part was left furious after realising there was no giant poster of him in 2012 at Ally Pally - even though he had won the title twice.

"It is an insult - and I don't care whose mistake it is. It was not nice, I deserve better," he said.

Needless to say, Part got his "respect from the wall" when a mural was hastily put up ahead of his next match.

17 perfect darts!

Michael van Gerwen almost achieved the unthinkable, hitting 17 perfect darts in his 2012 semi-final win over James Wade.

Before or since, no one has come as close to back-to-back nine-darters!

Anderson's first World title

Gary Anderson became a World Champion for the first time in 2015, defeating Phil Taylor 7-6 in one of the most exciting World Championship finals of all time.

The Scot famously overcame a 'bounce-out' 180 en route to victory.

A Dutch darting classic

Rank outsider Raymond van Barneveld stunned odds-on favourite Michael van Gerwen in an unforgettable 2015 clash between the Dutch legends.

Barney blew the tournament wide open with a fabulous 4-3 third-round win in one of the greatest darts matches of all time.

Lim's near miss

Paul Lim came agonisingly close to hitting one of the greatest nine-darters of all-time in 2017.

'The Singapore Slinger' was the first player to hit a nine-darter at a World Championship in 1990.

The bonus prize of £52,000 was more than eventual tournament winner Phil Taylor claimed for becoming world champion.

Passing the torch

Debutant Rob Cross sensationally lifted the title in 2018.

The former electrician, nicknamed 'Voltage' overcame Michael van Gerwen in an all-time classic semi-final before defeating Phil Taylor in the final, who was playing in his last ever match.

Smashing the glass ceiling

Fallon Sherrock became the first woman to defeat a man at a World Championship in 2019, with victory over Ted Evetts.

An incredible run saw Sherrock go on to also defeat Mensur Suljovic in round two before losing 4-2 to Chris Dobey in the next.

Peter gets it Wright

In his 12th World Championship at the age of 49, Peter Wright became World Champion for the first time in 2020.

'Snakebite' defeated Michael van Gerwen, his conqueror in numerous TV finals, to finally claim glory.

Pure theatre, pure darts, PURE DARTS!

West Lothian's William Borland struck a nine-darter in a last-leg shoot-out against fellow youngster Bradley Brooks in 2021 to win his first ever World Championship game, sparking incredible scenes at Ally Pally.

Perfection for Price!

It was almost inevitable that Gerwyn Price would join the nine-dart greats after a magnificent year in 2022.

'The Iceman' was on a nine-dart frenzy that year, nailing two incredible finishes en route to victory on a magical night of Premier League action in Belfast before raising the roof again at the World Matchplay in Blackpool.

The greatest leg of darts, EVER!

Last, but y no means least, there was of course the greatest leg of darts ever in the history of darts. The like of which may never be seen again!

Both Michael Smith and Michael van Gerwen hit six perfect darts, with the Dutchman one set in front and at 1-1 in legs in the second set of last year's final.

MVG then hits two more, only to narrowly miss double 12 for a nine-darter.

Sky Sports' Wayne Mardle picked up commentary for Smith's final visit of the leg, where he declared: "I've never seen the like. Come on Bully Boy."

After Smith hits treble 19, 'Hawaii 501' yelled: "Yes, double 12. That is the most amazing leg of darts you will ever see in your life. I can't speak, I can't speak."

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