UK Open

Better known as the FA Cup of darts, because players from all levels can participate. Until 2019 there were a number of qualifying tournaments for the PDC professionals known as the UK Open Qualifiers. The top 96 from these qualifiers would go into the main event. A number of qualifiers, who are recruited through so-called pub qualifiers, accompany them. All qualifiers gather at the Butlins Resort in Minehead to play on eight stages simultaneously. Since 2019 all 128 tour card holders are invited into the main event and with that change the UK Open Qualifiers disappear. The tour card holders compete against the top players from the Challenge Tour and Development Tour and the before mentioned pubqualifiers. 

Because of the short format and random draw there are usually lots of surprises, especially in the early years. It has also proved to be a good breeding ground for new talent in the PDC. The tournament has been played in June at the Reebok Stadium in Bolton from 2003 until 2013. In 2014 the tournament switches venue and date. The Butlins Resort in Minehead is the new venue and March is the new place on the calendar. In 2021 the tournament moves to the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes for one year due to Covid-19.

Proof of the surprising nature of the tournament can be obtained when you look at the run of finalists. Shayne Burgess gets to the final in 2003 in the latter stages of his career. Mark Walsh, Barrie Bates, Vincent van der Voort, Colin Osborne and Gary Mawson are further proof that the underdog is capable of having a good run to the final. Still, the tournament is almost always won by one of the big favourites. Nathan Aspinall is a surprise champion when he wins in 2019, he is outside the world’s top 32 before the tournament.

Of the nineteen times that the tournament has been played, a Dutch winner is crowned six times. In 2004 Roland Scholten, in 2006 and 2007 Raymond van Barneveld. Michael van Gerwen is the strongest in 2015, 2016 and 2020. Phil Taylor wins this tournament five times and James Wade is the strongest on three occasions. In addition, there are also a number of one-time winners. Adrian Lewis wins in 2014 and Gary Anderson in 2018. Robert Thornton wins his first major PDC title here in 2012, as do Peter Wright in 2017 and Nathan Aspinall in 2019.

In the UK Open history twelve nine-darters have been hit. Phil Taylor does it four times, Michael van Gerwen twice, Mervyn King, Gary Anderson, Wes Newton, Jonny Clayton, Sebastian Bialecki and Jitse van der Wal also achieve darting perfection in this tournament. Wes Newton, Sebastian Bialecki and Jitse van der Wal do this outside the view of the cameras on one of the outer boards.

Upcoming season (2022)

Tournament starts in

Reigning champion

James Wade
Photographer: MasterCaller.com
UK Open Darts - 2021

List of finals

Year Winner Result Runner-Up
2021
(102.52)
11
11 - 5
2020 11 - 9
(99.16)
9
2019 11 - 5
(84.79)
5
2018
(96.08)
11
11 - 7
(99.78)
7
2017
(100.55)
11
11 - 6
(97.78)
6
2016 11 - 4
(98.33)
4
2015 11 - 5
(99.33)
5
2014
(109.13)
11
11 - 1
(93.15)
1
2013
(107.04)
11
11 - 4
(97.95)
4
2012 11 - 5
(98.58)
5
2011
(96.25)
11
11 - 8
(88.51)
8
2010
(97.71)
11
11 - 5
(92.41)
5
2009
(100.80)
11
11 - 6
(93.24)
6
2008
(94.65)
11
11 - 7
(87.33)
7
2007 16 - 8
2006 13 - 7
(82.98)
7
2005
(97.80)
13
13 - 7
(89.52)
7
2004 11 - 6
(85.98)
6
2003
(98.03)
18
18 - 8