World Matchplay 1994

The World Matchplay is organized by the PDC since 1994 and always held in perhaps the most beautiful darts temple of them all, The Empress Ballroom in the Winter Gardens in Blackpool. Always hot, always filled with wacky, enthusiastic darts fans. The World Matchplay in earlier times was also organized by the BDO as the MFI World Matchplay, but that tournament was different than the current version. The tournament is always played in a b.o. x legs with no tiebreaker rule. All matches must be won by 2 clear legs.

In the first year the tournament is being organized it immediately gets its most surprising winner. It is still in the very early years of the PDC (then the World Darts Council) and the field is made up of the best players in the world complemented by a good dose of Americans, simply because there are not enough playing members in the PDC to be able to make a field of 32 players. The first edition will be held in the first week of August and the winner is Larry Butler from the USA. Butler defeats the overwhelming favourite, world champion Dennis Priestley in the final. Butler has the tournament of his life and will never win such a big title again.

Butler defeats Steve Raw 8-2 in the first round. He also misses a nine-darter on double 12 in that match. The unknown American is immediately no longer unknown. In the second round, he beats compatriot Jerry Umberger with the same scoreline. In the quarterfinals, he beats Jocky Wilson convincingly 11-4. Wilson had been the man of the tournament until that match beating Peter Evison in the first round and Alan Warriner one round later. It would be the last time that the real Wilson in his full glory participated in a TV tournament. Butler meanwhile, won his semi-final by beating Shayne Burgess with 13-7 and qualified for the final against Dennis Priestley. Priestley himself successively beat Eric Bristow, Gerald Verrier, Jamie Harvey and Rod Harrington. In the final Priestley is the favourite and seems on his way to victory when he goes 7-3 ahead, but from that moment the doubles let Priestley down. The American wins six legs in a row and then has a lead of 9-7. That lead remains the same for a long time, up to 13-11. In the 25th leg Dennis "The Menace" is missing a handful of doubles and gives Butler the chance to take further control. The American does not hesitate and takes a 14-11 lead, a lead that he will not give away any more. He wins the final with 16-12 and crowns himself the first ever World Matchplay champion.

In 1994, a record is set that still stands. Because all matches have to be won by two clear legs matches can take a very long time. Keith Deller and Jim Watkins played in 1994 in the second round against each other over the best of 15 legs. Winner was eventually Watkins; he won 18-16, which meant that it took 19 legs extra legs.

Venue: England Winter Gardens, Blackpool From: Monday 01 August 1994 Till: Monday 08 August 1994

Champion

Larry Butler
Photographer: PDC
1994 World Matchplay

Prize money

  • Champion
    £10,000
  • Runner-up
    £6,000
  • 3d place
    £3,250
  • 4d place
    £2,750
  • Quarter finalists
    £1,500
  • Last 16
    £850
  • Last 32
    £500
  • Total
    £42,800

List of finals

Year Winner Result Runner-Up
2020 18 - 10
(8) (92.81)
10
2019
(2) (95.16)
18
18 - 13
(5) (95.91)
13
2018
(4) (101.12)
21
21 - 19
(6) (104.43)
19
2017
(8) (104.24)
18
18 - 8
(3) (99.74)
8
2016
(1) (103.93)
18
18 - 10
(3) (101.13)
10
2015
(1) (99.91)
18
18 - 12
(6) (90.37)
12
2014
(2) (107.19)
18
18 - 9
(1) (101.49)
9
2013
(1) (111.23)
18
18 - 13
(3) (105.92)
13
2012
(1) (98.97)
18
18 - 15
(3) (95.91)
15
2011
(1) (103.83)
18
18 - 8
(3) (98.85)
8
2010
(1) (105.15)
18
18 - 12
(2) (100.11)
12
2009
(1) (106.05)
18
18 - 4
(6) (92.31)
4
2008
(1) (109.47)
18
18 - 9
(3) (102.57)
9
2007
(11) (96.84)
18
18 - 7
(5) (91.62)
7
2006
(1) (100.08)
18
18 - 11
(90.00)
11
2005
(1) (97.89)
18
18 - 12
(7) (94.53)
12
2004
(4) (100.12)
18
18 - 8
2003
(1) (97.44)
18
18 - 12
(11) (94.38)
12
2002
(1) (98.76)
18
18 - 16
(3) (94.14)
16
2001
(3) (99.57)
18
18 - 10
(90.99)
10
2000
(1) (100.32)
18
18 - 12
(6) (97.14)
12
1999
(1) (85.94)
19
19 - 17
(2) (86.92)
17
1998
(1) (95.04)
19
19 - 17
(94.08)
17
1997
(1) (106.32)
16
16 - 11
(6) (98.43)
11
1996
(100.50)
16
16 - 14
(2) (96.66)
14
1995
(2) (90.72)
16
16 - 11
(4) (87.63)
11
1994
(92.70)
16
16 - 12
(1) (91.59)
12