There are currently two recognised World Dart Champions the BDO / WDF Word Champion and the PDC World Champion. The first World Champion was Leighton Rees from Wales. Leighton beat John Lowe 11 legs to 7 and won £3,000. The final was played in legs not sets as it is today. The first World Championship was held at the 'Heart of the Midlands' nightclub in Nottingham before moving to the Jollees Club Stoke-on-Trent where it remained until 1985. From 1986 the World Darts finals have been held at the Lakeside complex Frimley Green, Surrey.
1992 saw a number of players split from the BDO and form their own darts organisation; The World Darts Council later to be renamed as the Professional Darts Corporation PDC (See History). In 1994 the PDC staged their first World Darts Championships to rival The BDO Championship. Many of the best names in darts at the time moved to form the WDC / PDC and it has always been a bitter rivalry of who is the best. Many now believe the PDC holds that title due to the amount of prize money it offers, currently five times that of the BDO.
In 2001 the BDO introduced the first women’s World Darts Championship. Trina Gulliver from England has won this event every year from 2001-2007. In 2008 Trina reached the final again but this time she was defeated by Russia's Anastasia Dobromyslova 2-0. Trina lost again in 2009 final to Francis Hoenselaar but regained her crown in 2010, 2011 and 2016. Trina has qualified for the World final every year since it's conception.
The lists below show the World Champions of past and present. Many dart fans can recall the World Champions but not many can name the runners-up or indeed the score final.
Few darts players have dominated the sport, however, there are a couple of exceptions. Phil Taylor won 16 World Titles before retiring at the beginning of 2018. His record of World Titles will stand for many years to come and may never be beaten. On the ladies side of darts, Trina Gulliver MBE dominated the 2000’s a decade in which she won seven straight World Titles. To date Trina has won 10 World Champions Titles and who knows there might be more still to come.
Three players have been awarded the British Empire Medal (MBE) for Services to darts and for their charitable fundraising work: Eric Bristow, Trina Gulliver and John Lowe (2019).
The highest average achieved in the televised stages of the PDC World Championship Finals is 114.05 set by Michael van Gerwen in the 2017 semi-finals. Michael beat Raymond van Barneveld who also set the highest losing average at the championships, 109.34
Phil Taylor recorded a three dart average of 110.94 in the 2009 final. The highest ever for any major darts championship final.
The 2017 final also broke the most 180’s hit in any darts match, a total of 42. Michael van Gerwen hit 20, 180's while Gary Anderson hit 22, 180's
Adrian Lewis hit a nine dart leg in the opening set of the Ladbrokes.com PDC World Darts Final in 2011. The first ever dart player to achieve this feat in a World Darts Final
For more information on PDC events please visit the PDC website
The first nine-dart leg achieved in the BDO World Darts Championship was by Paul Lim (USA) in the second round of the 1990 Championships against Irishman Jack McKenna. Paul won £52,000 for his achievement. Since then the BDO World Championships has not seen another nine-dart leg achieved but serval have come close.
Since the Women’s World Darts Championship was conceived in 2001 one woman has dominated the ladies darts scene, Trina Gulliver MBE. Trina's achievement of playing in all of the World Championships finals stages is something no other lady player can boast. Trina has won the women’s World Championship title ten times to date and has been the runner-up on two occasions. There has always been a debate on the best ladies player ever, I say no more her World Championship Record speaks for itself.
Although the BDO has been the bedrock for youth darts for many years, it was the PDC who first introduced a World Darts Championship. Until this point, the biggest accolade a youth player could hold was the Winmau Masters title. The masters introduced a joint boys and girls (Youth) Championship in 1986. In 1999 this was split into two separate titles one for boys the other girls.
BDO classify a youth player of 18 years or younger, however, the PDC have revised their youth tournament age minimum 16 years – 23 years. Personally, 23 seems a little old for a youth player especially when Jelle Klassen won the BDO World Championship at the age of 21.
In 2010 Unicorn (Darts Manufacturer) introduced an alternative Womens World Darts Championship. The final took place in the Winter Gardens Blackpool, UK and consisted the best of 11 legs and was won by Stacy Bromberg (USA). The event as not been staged since and there seems no plans for its return.
Trina Gulliver MBE the most successful ladies dart player to grace the earth did not play in this event but went on to win the 2010, 2011 & 2016 BDO World darts Championship a total of 10 World Championship wins to date.
Sadly Stacy died on the 12th February 2017 aged 60