The World Grand Prix is notoriously one of the most unpredictable tournaments on the darting calendar and this year’s event promises to be no different.
The double-in, double-out set format has led to some huge shocks and incredible drama over recent years and although it is an event that was previously dominated by Phil Taylor and more recently Michael van Gerwen, both players have suffered their fair share of shock defeats.
Van Gerwen is bidding to claim a fifth Grand Prix title having enjoyed a strong return from the summer break, but there are a host of big-name stars aiming to add their name to the decorated roll of honour in Dublin.
Ahead of this year’s tournament, we have gone back through the archives and picked out some of the most memorable moments in World Grand Prix history…
Callaby stuns Taylor
Andy Callaby caused one of the biggest shocks in darting history when he defeated Phil Taylor in straight sets on his televised debut at the Citywest in 2004.
‘The Power’ had lifted five Grand Prix crowns in the previous six years but he was blown away by the 39-year-old, who produced a sensational 145 checkout to complete a momentous victory.
Callaby – who also reached the UK Open quarter-finals in 2006 – defeated former world champion Dennis Priestley to reach the last eight in Dublin, before succumbing to eventual finalist Alan Warriner-Little.
However, Taylor responded by winning back-to-back Grand Prix titles in 2005 and 2006 – winning the unique event a record 11 times throughout his glittering career.
Dolan’s nine-dart history
Brendan Dolan’s ‘History Maker’ nickname was coined at the World Grand Prix in 2011, when he landed the tournament’s first nine-dart finish.
Dolan was featuring in the event as one of two Irish qualifiers and he defeated Wayne Jones, three-time world champion John Part and John Henderson to set up a semi-final showdown against James Wade.
The Northern Irishman produced the performance of his life to defeat ‘The Machine’ 5-2, landing the perfect leg in the second set to level up proceedings at 1-1.
Dolan was beaten 6-3 by Taylor in the tournament’s showpiece, but having considered his future in the sport just months earlier, this announced his arrival into the darting big-time.
John Henderson went Double Dutch in Dublin in 2017, defeating Van Gerwen and Raymond van Barneveld to reach his first televised semi-final.
‘The Highlander’ produced a nerveless display of finishing to secure the biggest win of his career against Van Gerwen in round one, before going on to claim another prized scalp later in the event.
The Scot trailed five-time world champion Van Barneveld 1-0 in the quarter-finals, before reeling off three straight sets to prevail and send Barney crashing out.
This remains Henderson’s solitary appearance in a major PDC semi-final, but his fairytale run came to a close in the last four, where he was beaten 4-1 by eventual champion Daryl Gurney.
MVG claims first TV title
Van Gerwen burst onto the darting scene at the age of 16 but, after making the switch to the PDC, he initially struggled to make his mark and there were questions over whether he would ever fulfil his enormous potential.
However, the turning point for the Dutchman came in 2012, when he produced a stirring comeback from 4-1 down to defeat Mervyn King 6-4 and clinch his first televised PDC title in a dramatic finale.
The three-time world champion had started the year ranked 38th in the world, but a series of strong showings, followed by his Grand Prix glory, catapulted him into the world’s top eight.
It also sparked a stunning era of dominance that would have been scarcely believable prior to his Citywest success. Since then, Van Gerwen has scooped 39 televised titles – amassing over £7m in prize money.
Gurney’s emotional triumph
Daryl Gurney came of age as he lifted his first major title at the Citywest Hotel in 2017, becoming the second non-seeded player to lift the Grand Prix title.
‘Super Chin’ kicked off his campaign by dumping out fourth seed Adrian Lewis and victories over Joe Cullen, 2015 champion Robert Thornton and Henderson followed.
Gurney recovered from 2-0 down to defeat Simon Whitlock on an emotional occasion, sinking to his knees as he celebrated his ground-breaking triumph.
The Northern Irishman added a Players Championship Finals crown to his collection last November and having climbed up to a career high of third in the world, Gurney is now an established figure within the darting elite.
Wade and Thornton trade nine-darters
Wade and Thornton contested the most extraordinary match in World Grand Prix history in 2014.
There have only been three nine-dart legs posted in the tournament’s history and two of those came in a truly astonishing tussle between the two major champions.
Wade threw the tournament’s second nine-dart leg in the second leg of their last-16 encounter, before Thornton replied with a perfect leg of his own when leading 2-1 in sets.