The PDC Grand Slam of Darts is one of the most exciting events on the professional darts calendar. Held annually in November, this invitational tournament organized by the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) brings together top players from the PDC.
What is the Grand Slam of Darts? The PDC Grand Slam of Darts is an annual invitational only darts tournament consisting of 32 of the world’s best dart players competing over 9 days to decide who will take home the Eric Bristow Trophy. The tournament consists of group and knockout states. The total prize money for the tournament is £650,000. The Champion walks away with £150,000 and the runner-up takes home £70,000 in prize money.
First held in 2007, the Grand Slam was created to merge talent from the two major darts organizations into one high-profile event the PDC and BDO (British Darts Organisation). As of 2020, the BDO no longer participates in this event. The Grand Slam of Darts is considered one of the most prestigious tournaments on the PDC calendar.
The Grand Slam features a unique format not seen at any other PDC major. An eight-group stage determines seeding for a sixteen player knockout bracket. This innovative structure allows for unpredictable matchups and Cinderella stories.
How does the Grand Slam of Darts work?
The Grand Slam of Darts is a 32-player tournament organized by the PDC. The tournament has 8 groups of 4 players compete in a group stage, with the top 2 from each group advancing to a knockout bracket. This sets it apart from most PDC majors which are straight bracket formats. The tournament is held annually in November each year and takes place in Wolverhampton, England.
The Grand Slam was first held in 2007 as an effort to bring together talent from the divided darts world under one banner. Up until 2020, the tournament was unique because it featured players from both the PDC and BDO – One of the only major tournaments to do so. The BDO faced a number of financial issues and was liquidated in 2020.
In 2018, the Grand Slam of Darts trophy was renamed in honor of the darts legend Eric Bristow.
The Innovative Tournament Format & Scoring System
One of the most interesting parts of the Grand Slam of Darts is the group stage format used in the early rounds. There are 8 groups (A-H) with 4 players each.
The groups play a round-robin, and the top 2 players from each group advance to the knockout rounds. This allows for intriguing matchups between players who may not meet in other major tournaments.
The scoring system is also unique. Matches open with 2 doubles 501 legs, requiring players to hit a double to start scoring. This tests their doubles skills right off the bat.
Then, the match proceeds with 5 traditional 501 singles legs, so the first to 5 legs takes the win. And all legs must be finished by hitting a double – no bullseyes allowed! This “double in, double out” scoring keeps tension high.
How Players Qualify for the Grand Slam of Darts
The 32 spots in the Grand Slam of Darts field are determined through various qualifiers:
- Top 8 PDC players based on Order of Merit ranking
- Top European Tour players from the ProTour Order of Merit
- Additional players from the main ProTour Order of Merit
- 2 spots reserved for youth – top 2 ranked youth tour players
- 4 spots for the semi-finalists from the annual PDC World Cup
- Additional Qualifiers from the Women’s Matchplay, Women’s Series, Asian Championship, and CDC Continental Cup
The Grand Slam of Darts is comprised of PDC tour veterans and rising stars, which makes for some exciting matchups.
Memorable Moments from Grand Slam History
In the 16 editions of the Grand Slam so far, there have been plenty of memorable moments:
- Phil Taylor won the Grand Slam of Darts 6 times (2007-2009, 2011, 2013-2014) – No other dart player has come close to this record.
- BDO player Scott Waites won the Grand Slam in 2010, the first and only win for a BDO player
- Gerwyn Price won his first PDC major title beating Gary Anderson in 16-13 match during the Grand Slam of Darts 2018
The Grand Slam of Dart’s Unique Allure
While it may fly under the radar compared to the PDC World Championship or Premier League, the Grand Slam of Darts has a special allure. The crossover of players from different organizations and the innovative format create an electric environment.
Winning the Grand Slam is a prestigious achievement, with the victorious player lifting the Eric Bristow Trophy. As darts continues to grow, this tournament is sure to only increase in stature and popularity. It’s certainly one every darts fan should know!
The group stage allows unexpected matchups and drama, while the doubles format levels the playing field. Combine this with boisterous crowds and big stakes, and the Grand Slam of Darts makes for an unforgettable week on the darts calendar.