Q-School ended after seven days in Milton Keynes, England and Kalkar, Germany. The multi-day event will result in 27 lucky winners being allowed to show what they can do on the lucrative PDC Pro Tour over the next two years.
But the Q-school resulted in several failures, with players going home without a PDC Tour card. With a total of 855 players participating in one of the two Q-Schools, more than eight hundred missed out on the ‘Golden Ticket’. But what is the alternative for them in 2023?
Players who participate in Q-School and do not win a Tour Card are permitted by the PDC to participate in the Challenge Tour. This round consists of 24 matches. Each competition has a prize pool of £15,000, with the winner receiving £2,500.
Two starting spots for the World Darts Championship are up for grabs on the Challenge Tour. The top two of the final classification can participate in Alexandra Palace. In addition, they will receive a PDC Tour card for 2024 and 2025.
Players who perform well on the Challenge Tour have the opportunity to participate in Pro Tour tournaments. If one or more Tour card holders withdraw from the Players Championship, the Challenge Tour Order of Merit will be used to add replacement players to the tournament.
Associate Membership Qualifications for EuroTours
By participating in Q-School, players are eligible to play in Associate Member Qualifiers on the Euro Tour. Thirteen Euro Tour tournaments are again on the program this year.
An Associate Member qualifier is played for each Euro Tour tournament. Two starting spots are allocated each time for the main tournament. A player is guaranteed £1,000 in prize money when participating in a Euro Tour tournament. It will eventually be worth up to £25,000 with a Euro Tour title.
Players aged 16 to 24 (who will be 23 on January 1, 2023) are eligible to participate in the PDC’s youth tour, the PDC Development Tour. Participation in Q-School is not required to participate in this round.
The Development Tour consists of 24 tournaments, with prize money of £15,000 for each event. The winner will take home £2500.
Two starting spots for the World Darts Championship are up for grabs on the Development Tour. At the end of the season the two best players will be invited to the World Darts Championship. They will also receive a PDC Tour card for the next two seasons.
There are also options for women. From 2020, the PDC has its own women’s series. The round consisted of four matches and now it has been expanded to 24 matches.
The PDC has allocated a £10,000 prize pool for each tournament. The women’s series offers starting spots for the Grand Slam of Darts and the World Darts Championship.
Players outside the United Kingdom and Darts countries such as the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium sometimes have a regional round (under the flag of the PDC) they can retreat to.
For example, there is a Nordic & Baltic circuit for players from Scandinavian countries and Baltic states. Players from Australia can go on the DPA tour and darts players from New Zealand have the DPNZ circuit. North America has the CDC Tour for darts players from the US and Canada. One or more World Cup places are available through these rounds.
Not only does the talent have their own tour, but there is also a tour for players (50+). Although it is not organized by the PDC, it is organized by the World Senior Darts Tour (WSDT).
The organization organizes an annual edition of the Senior World Cup with participants including Bill Taylor, Martin Adams, John Bard, Robert Thornton and Kevin Painter.
WSDT also organizes several tournaments including its own World Masters and World Matchplay for Seniors.
MODE Super Series
More and more players have taken refuge in the MODUS Super Series. In a weekly tournament, twelve players – by invitation – compete for a top prize of £5,000.
After twelve weeks of play, the twelve weekly winners will compete against each other. A check for £20,000 awaits the winner in what is known as ‘Champions Week’.
National Association Tournaments
Players without a PDC Tour Card do not have to sign a PDC contract, which gives them the opportunity to play matches with other associations.
In this way they can participate in, for example, open tournaments under the World Darts Federation (WDF). With this, they have got a chance to qualify for the Amateur World Cup.
These players can also participate in national ranking tournaments. For example, in the Netherlands, players like Jelle Klaasen, Benito van de Pas and Christian Kist can participate in the NDB rankings. England has a ‘county system’ as an alternative to UK players.