Column: The time is ripe for a major darts tournament in America

The return of the US Darts Masters to Madison Square Garden in New York City was an unmitigated success. America seems poised for a big match.

The event again attracted media attention and seats were well filled during the US Masters of Darts. More than three thousand American fans attended the tournament each day, where eight of the world’s best players competed against eight of the best North American darts players.

North Americans do not merely serve as a competitive complement. Defending world champion Michael Smith and world number two Peter Wright were knocked out of the competition by Jim Long and Jeff Smith respectively.

The latter became the man of the match. After his win against Wright, ‘The Silencer’ also recorded impressive wins over Nathan Aspinall and Luke Humphries. Just prior to his fights against Aspinall and Humphreys, Smith had already won the North American Championship.

However, after winning five games in one day, the tank turned empty in the finals. The Canadian couldn’t give Michael van Gerwen a match and went 8-0 against the Dutchman.

However, that doesn’t change the conclusion that North American spears have taken another step. Focus not only on the level but also on the game. So the question arises as to whether a major tournament could be held in the US, for example a televised tournament that counts in the world rankings.

The PDC already got into this earlier this century. Back then, several Players Championship tournaments were played annually in North America, and one major tournament (the Las Vegas Desert Classic) was also played. At the time, despite Canadian John Bard’s three world titles, the sport was not as popular there as it is now.

As far as I’m concerned, there are three options for setting up a ranked competition in the US. The first option is a new tournament at the end of January on the Masters calendar. A tournament for three or four days with 32 players. Invite the 28 players who performed well in the previous season, so only the prize money won in the second year in the PDC Order of Merit. After all, that ranking is based on results over a 24-month period. The remaining four spots can be awarded to four North American darts players, the best two for my part being Americans and Canadians.

Another option is a similar tournament at the World Series of Darts Finals site in September, an event that, in my opinion, is the most useless tournament on the calendar alongside the Masters. Invite 28 players who have performed well in the first seven or eight months of the season.

A final option is to transfer one of the existing majors to the US. The World Grand Prix seems to me a good choice for this. However, this choice is not obvious. A step from a two-day tournament to a seven-day tournament could be an even (much) bigger one.

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