Phil Taylor has been handed a difficult start to his quest to win a 13th World Matchplay title!
The Team Unicorn star must play Mervyn King in the 1st Round at the Winter Gardens.
It couldn’t be tougher for ‘The Power’ who is also bidding to win at the Winter Gardens for a fifth straight year.
It is without doubt the strongest ever field to be assembled for the Blackpool bonanza, which starts on Saturday week.
Raymond van Barneveld - fresh from his win at the European Darts Trophy – has been drawn against talented youngster Michael Smith.
And Barney could play Terry Jenkins in round two!
‘The Bull’ must take on Kim Huybrechts in a draw which is packed with stand-out matches!
Former Matchplay Champion James Wade plays the in-form Richie Burnett, while World No.4 Gary Anderson meets former BDO star Dean Winstanley.
And the other Unicorn players at Blackpool all have it tough!
Joe Cullen makes his Matchplay debut against Justin Pipe, Paul Nicholson meets Andy Smith and Kevin Painter faces Steve Beaton.
Andy Hamilton could run up against Taylor in the quarter-finals, but in the 1st Round he must play Irishman Brendan Dolan and Wes Newton comes up against PDC Unicorn World Youth Champion James Hubbard.
The order of play will be announced in due course.
Taylor will start as the bookies favourite but King has a decent record against ‘The Power’ who will head to Blackpool after recharging the batteries at his holiday home in Tenerife!
Full 1st Round draw (seeds in bracket):
Adrian Lewis (2) v Robert Thornton
Paul Nicholson (15) v Andy Smith
Raymond van Barneveld (7) v Michael Smith
Terry Jenkins (10) v Kim Huybrechts
Simon Whitlock (6) v Michael van Gerwen
Kevin Painter (11) v Steve Beaton
James Wade (3) v Richie Burnett
Mark Walsh (14) v Colin Osborne
Phil Taylor (1) v Mervyn King
Vincent van der Voort (16) v Ian White
Andy Hamilton (8) v Brendan Dolan
Mark Webster (9) v Colin Lloyd
Wes Newton (5) v James Hubbard
Justin Pipe (12) v Joe Cullen
Gary Anderson (4) v Dean Winstanley
Dave Chisnall (13) v Ronnie Baxter
By STUART PYKE
Photo courtesy Lawrence Lustig / PDC