Nine-dart finish

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A nine-dart finish is a perfect leg in the game of darts, using only nine darts, the fewest possible, to checkout from 501. It is notoriously difficult to achieve, even by the game's top professionals. It is considered to be the highest single-game achievement in the sport, similar to a maximum 147 break in snooker or a 300-point game in bowling.

Methods of achievement[edit]

This table shows all 3,944 possible paths for a nine-dart finish playing a 501 double-out dart leg.

A single game (known as a leg) of darts requires a player to score 501 points, ending with either the bullseye or a double. Each shot consists of exactly three darts and 60 is the maximum that can be scored with any one dart. Thus 180 is the maximum score of a shot, and nine throws are the minimum necessary to win.

Although other combinations are possible, the traditional nine-dart finish requires a score of 60 (treble 20) with each of the first six throws, that is, with the first two shots of three. This leaves 141 to score on the final shot (of three darts), known as the outshot.

This outshot is traditionally performed in one of three ways:

  • treble 20 (60), treble 19 (57) and double 12 (24)
  • treble 20 (60), treble 15 (45) and double 18 (36)

Another way is to score 167 with each set of three darts, scoring a perfect 501 total, in the following way:

  • treble 20 (60), treble 19 (57) and bullseye (50)

This eliminates the chance of any dart being deflected by an already thrown dart into the wrong scoring area by throwing each dart at a different location on the board. It is only usually seen in exhibition matches, as in tournaments, players are inclined to aim for the triple 20, only switching to the triple 19 for a cover shot.

Arguably the most difficult nine dart finish would be 180 (3xT20), 171 (3xT19), and 150 (3xBULL) – owing to the difficulty of getting all three darts in the bullseye: it is the smallest double on the board.

A nine dart finish is also attainable in games which require a double to commence scoring. In such games, throwing for double 20 first can lead to a maximum score of 160 with the first throw, leaving the thrower commonly requiring 180 then 161 (T20,T17,BULL) in their remaining six darts, though other outcomes are possible. It is worth noting that in these games, only throwing for double 20, double 17, or bullseye to start the leg can result in a nine dart finish.

The total number of different ways of achieving 501 with 9 darts is 3,944,[1] of which 2,296 finish with the BULL, 672 end on D20, 792 on D18, 56 end with D17, 120 finish on D15, and 8 end with D12.

First televised nine-darter[edit]

The first televised nine dart finish was achieved at the World Matchplay championship on 13 October 1984 by John Lowe,[2] who used the second method (with the T17 first, then T18, D18) above as his outshot after scoring two maximum 180s. For this he received a prize of £102,000, and he went on to win the whole event. This nine dart finish was not broadcast live. The first ever live broadcast nine dart finish was performed by Shaun Greatbatch against Steve Coote in the Final of the Dutch Open on 3 February 2002, while Phil Taylor achieved the first live nine-darter broadcast on British television during the 2002 World Matchplay.

World Championship nine-darters[edit]

The first player to manage the outshot in the World Championship was Paul Lim on 9 January 1990 against Jack McKenna.[3] He favoured the first method of those listed above for his outshot.[4] Lim won a £52,000 bonus for the feat, which was more than the eventual tournament winner Phil Taylor who received £24,000 for becoming World Champion.

Even with two versions of the World Championship in operation, Lim's achievement was not repeated for nearly 19 years until 2 January 2009, when Raymond van Barneveld became only the second person to achieve the feat and the first since the split in darts.[5] The finish came against Jelle Klaasen at the quarter-final stage of the 2009 PDC World Darts Championship at the Alexandra Palace, and he claimed a £20,000 bonus prize (having rolled over from three previous tournaments since Phil Taylor's nine-darter at the UK Open). On 28 December 2009 he repeated the feat at the 2010 PDC World Darts Championship during his second round clash with Brendan Dolan netting him a £25,000 prize.[6]

Adrian Lewis achieved a nine-dart finish in the third leg of the 2011 PDC World Darts Championship final against Gary Anderson, winning £10,000.[7]

On 23 December 2012 at the 2013 PDC World Darts Championship, Dean Winstanley hit a nine-dart finish in the third leg of the third set in his second round defeat to Vincent van der Voort.[8] Another nine-dart finish at this Championship was achieved by Michael van Gerwen in his semi-final victory over James Wade in the third leg of the fifth set. The leg after the nine-darter (the fourth leg of the fifth set) van Gerwen hit another eight perfect darts but missed the last dart at the double to achieve consecutive nine-dart finishes.[9] Both shared the £15,000 prize.

On 14 December 2013 at the 2014 PDC World Darts Championship, Terry Jenkins and Kyle Anderson both hit nine darters in their first round matches against Per Laursen and Ian White respectively. Unusually, both players lost their matches.[10]

On 30 December 2014 in the third round of the 2015 PDC World Darts Championship, Adrian Lewis hit his second World Championship nine-dart finish and his third overall. He lost the match 4-3 to Raymond van Barneveld.

Most prolific nine-darters[edit]

Phil Taylor has achieved this feat more than any other darts player on television,[11] having done so 10 times. The first came on 1 August 2002 during a quarter final tie against Chris Mason, at the 2002 PDC World Matchplay in Blackpool.[12] It was the first live-televised nine-dart finish on British television, and Taylor received £100,000. Despite having achieved the feat a record 10 times, Taylor has never hit a nine-darter in the World Championship.

The youngest player to throw a televised nine-darter is Michael van Gerwen, who hit the perfect leg in the semi-finals of the 2007 Masters of Darts tournament in the Netherlands. The event was screened live in the Netherlands. Van Gerwen was just 17 years, 298 days old at the time. The Dutch youngster scored 174 (T20, T19, T19) and 180, then checked out 147 with T20, T17, D18. Van Gerwen's nine-darter was the first live televised nine-darter that did not start with two 180s. Van Gerwen has since gone on to hit 3 more televised nine-darters.

The 2007 International Darts League became the first televised tournament to witness two nine-darters when Phil Taylor's effort was matched the following day (May 9) by another perfect game from Tony O'Shea against Adrian Lewis.

It the Second Round of the 2008 Grand Slam of Darts in Wolverhampton, James Wade hit his first televised nine-dart-finish against Gary Anderson. The event was shown live on ITV4, making it the first time a nine-darter had been seen live on terrestrial, free-to-air television in the UK. Wade lost the match 10-8.

Mervyn King hit his first televised nine-dart finish in the 2009 South African Masters on September 2009 against James Wade — he became the first player to hit a televised nine-darter outside of Europe.[13]

On 24 May 2010, in the Premier League final against James Wade, Taylor made history by being the first player to ever hit two 9-dart finishes in a single match. These were his seventh and eighth nine-dart finishes.

Brendan Dolan became the first player ever to hit a nine-darter in a game which required a double to commence scoring. He did this in the semi-final of the 2011 World Grand Prix against James Wade on 8 October 2011. He opened with double 20, before hitting successive treble 20s (160, 180) and then finished on 161 with T20, T17 and a bullseye.[14] He later changed his nickname to "The History Maker" to reflect his feat.

In October 2014 at the 2014 World Grand Prix, James Wade followed soon after by Robert Thornton became the first players to both hit a nine-darter in the same match. James Wade went on to win the match 3-2. Interestingly this tournament was double-to-start, meaning the 2nd and 3rd televised double-to-start nine-dart-finishes were hit in the same match. This also makes James Wade the only man ever to have hit a 'standard' nine-darter and a double-to-start nine-darter.

Currently over 105 professional darts players have achieved nine-dart finishes, both televised and untelevised. Prior to 2006 there had been around 10.[15]

List of televised nine-darters[edit]

42 televised nine-darters have been achieved by 22 different men. Twenty-nine of those 42 hit two 180s and finished with a 141 check-out. 3 of those 42 have been double-to-start.[16]

Date Player Tournament Method Prize Referee Commentator(s)
13 October 1984 John Lowe
against Keith Deller
World Matchplay 3 x T20; 3 x T20; T17, T18, D18 £102,000 Freddie Williams Dave Lanning
9 January 1990 Paul Lim
against Jack McKenna
BDO World Championship 3 x T20; 3 x T20; T20, T19, D12 £52,000 Martin Fitzmaurice Tony Green
3 February 2002 Shaun Greatbatch
against Steve Coote
Dutch Open 3 x T20; 3 x T20; T20, T15, D18 Steve Nicolas Albert Manting
1 August 2002 Phil Taylor
against Chris Mason
World Matchplay 3 x T20; 3 x T20; T20, T19, D12 £100,000 Russ Bray Sid Waddell
Dave Lanning
5 June 2004 Phil Taylor
against Matt Chapman
UK Open 3 x T20; 3 x T20; T20, T19, D12 501 bottles of Budweiser Bruce Spendley Stuart Pyke
John Gwynne
12 June 2005 Phil Taylor
against Roland Scholten
UK Open 3 x T20; 3 x T20; T20, T19, D12 501 bottles of Budweiser Bruce Spendley Dave Lanning
John Gwynne
23 March 2006 Raymond van Barneveld[17]
against Peter Manley
Premier League Darts 3 x T20; 3 x T20; T20, T19, D12 Bruce Spendley Sid Waddell
John Gwynne
17 February 2007 Michael van Gerwen
against Raymond van Barneveld
Masters of Darts T20, 2 x T19; 3 x T20; T20, T17, D18 €10,000[18] Russ Bray Stuart Pyke
Rod Harrington
8 May 2007 Phil Taylor
against Raymond van Barneveld
International Darts League 3 x T20; 3 x T20; T20, T19, D12 Opel Tigra Twin Top Bruce Spendley Leo Oldenburger
Jacques Nieuwlaat
9 May 2007 Tony O'Shea
against Adrian Lewis
3 x T20; 3 x T20; T20, T19, D12 Opel Tigra Twin Top Bruce Spendley Leo Oldenburger
Jacques Nieuwlaat
9 June 2007 Phil Taylor[19]
against Wes Newton
UK Open 3 x T20; 3 x T20; T20, T19, D12 £20,000 Russ Bray John Gwynne
Rod Harrington
17 November 2007 John Walton
against Martin Phillips
World Masters 3 x T20; 3 x T20; T20, T19, D12 £2,000[20] Nick Rolls Tony Green
David Croft
6 June 2008 Phil Taylor[21]
against Jamie Harvey
UK Open 3 x T20; 2 x T20, T19; 2 x T20, D12 £25,000 Russ Bray Stuart Pyke
Sid Waddell
20 November 2008 James Wade
against Gary Anderson
Grand Slam of Darts 3 x T20; 3 x T20; T20, T19, D12 Bruce Spendley Stuart Pyke
Alan Warriner-Little
2 January 2009 Raymond van Barneveld[22]
against Jelle Klaasen
PDC World Championship 3 x T20; 3 x T20; T20, T19, D12 £20,000 George Noble Nigel Pearson
Sid Waddell
27 September 2009 Mervyn King
against James Wade
South African Masters 3 x T20; 3 x T20; T20, T19, D12 £10,000 Russ Bray John Gwynne
Rod Harrington
13 December 2009 Darryl Fitton
against Ross Montgomery
Zuiderduin Masters 2 x T20, T19; 3 x T20; 2 x T20, D12 Rab Butler Jacques Nieuwlaat
28 December 2009 Raymond van Barneveld[23]
against Brendan Dolan
PDC World Championship 3 x T20; 3 x T20; T20, T19, D12 £25,000 George Noble Stuart Pyke
Rod Harrington
29 April 2010 Raymond van Barneveld[24]
against Terry Jenkins
Premier League Darts 3 x T20; 3 x T20; T20, T19, D12 Bruce Spendley John Gwynne
Rod Harrington
24 May 2010 Phil Taylor[25]
against James Wade
T20, 2 x T19; 3 x T20; T20, T17, D18 George Noble Sid Waddell
Dave Lanning
24 May 2010 Phil Taylor[25]
against James Wade
3 x T20; 3 x T20; T20, T19, D12 George Noble Sid Waddell
Dave Lanning
5 June 2010 Mervyn King[26]
against Gary Anderson
UK Open 3 x T20; 3 x T20; T20, T19, D12 £5,000 George Noble John Gwynne
Rod Studd
17 July 2010 Raymond van Barneveld[27]
against Denis Ovens
World Matchplay 3 x T20; 3 x T20; T20, T19, D12 £5,000[28] Paul Hinks Sid Waddell
Stuart Pyke
3 January 2011 Adrian Lewis[29]
against Gary Anderson
PDC World Championship 3 x T20; 3 x T20; T20, T19, D12 £10,000[30] George Noble Depending on
2D or 3D
[nb 1]
16 July 2011 John Part[31]
against Mark Webster
World Matchplay 3 x T20; 3 x T20; T20, T19, D12 £10,000 Paul Hinks Sid Waddell
Rod Harrington
31 July 2011 Adrian Lewis[32]
against Raymond van Barneveld
European Championship 3 x T20; 3 x T20; T20, T19, D12 Paul Hinks Stuart Pyke
Chris Mason
8 October 2011 Brendan Dolan[33]
against James Wade
World Grand Prix double-to-start
D20, 2 x T20; 3 x T20; T20, T17, bullseye
£5,000 George Noble John Gwynne
Rod Harrington
16 February 2012 Phil Taylor[34]
against Kevin Painter
Premier League Darts 3 x T20; T20, 2 x T19; T20, T17, D18 Bruce Spendley Rod Studd
Wayne Mardle
17 May 2012 Simon Whitlock[35]
against Andy Hamilton
3 x T20; 3 x T20; T20, T15, D18 George Noble John Gwynne
Rod Studd
8 June 2012 Gary Anderson[36]
against Davey Dodds
UK Open 3 x T20; 3 x T20; T20, T19, D12 £10,000 Russ Bray John Gwynne
Stuart Pyke
25 July 2012 Michael van Gerwen[37]
against Steve Beaton
World Matchplay 3 x T20; 3 x T20; T20, T19, D12 £2,500 George Noble John Gwynne
Rod Harrington
Andrew Flintoff
26 July 2012 Wes Newton[38]
against Justin Pipe
3 x T20; 2 x T20, T19; 2 x T20, D12 £2,500 Russ Bray John Gwynne
Stuart Pyke
23 December 2012 Dean Winstanley[39]
against Vincent van der Voort
PDC World Championship 3 x T20; 3 x T20; T20, T19, D12 £7,500 Bruce Spendley John Gwynne
Nigel Pearson
30 December 2012 Michael van Gerwen[40]
against James Wade
3 x T20; 2 x T20, T19; 2 x T20, D12 £7,500 Russ Bray John Gwynne
Stuart Pyke
14 December 2013 Terry Jenkins[41]
against Per Laursen
PDC World Championship 3 x T20; 3 x T20; T20, T19, D12 £15,000 Russ Bray Wayne Mardle
John Part
14 December 2013 Kyle Anderson[42]
against Ian White
3 x T20; 3 x T20; T20, T19, D12 £15,000 Paul Hinks Stuart Pyke
Rod Studd
23 July 2014 Phil Taylor
against Michael Smith
PDC World Matchplay 3 x T20; 2 x T20, T19; 2 x T20, D12 £10,000 Kirk Bevins Wayne Mardle
Stuart Pyke
8 October 2014 James Wade
against Robert Thornton
PDC World Grand Prix double-to-start
D20, 2 x T20; 3 x T20; T20, T17, bullseye
£2,500 Paul Hinks Rod Studd
Stuart Pyke
8 October 2014 Robert Thornton
against James Wade
double-to-start
D20, 2 x T20; 3 x T20; T20, T17, bullseye
£2,500 Paul Hinks Rod Studd
Stuart Pyke
26 October 2014 Michael van Gerwen
against Raymond van Barneveld
European Championship 2 x T20, T19; 3 x T20; 2 x T20, D12 £5,000 Russ Bray Stuart Pyke
Alan Warriner-Little
14 November 2014 Kim Huybrechts
against Michael van Gerwen
Grand Slam of Darts 3 x T20; 3 x T20; T20, T19, D12 Kirk Bevins Wayne Mardle
Rod Studd
30 December 2014 Adrian Lewis
against Raymond van Barneveld
PDC World Championship 3 x T20; 3 x T20; T20, T19, D12 £10,000 George Noble David Croft
Wayne Mardle
1 February 2015 Darryl Fitton
against Martin Adams
Dutch Open 3 x T20; 3 x T20; T20, T19, D12 Škoda Fabia Nick Rolls Niels de Ruijter
  1. ^ With the host broadcaster Sky Sports showing the final in both 2D and 3D, they implemented two different commentating teams. In 2D, Rod Studd and Sid Waddell commentated, while in 3D it was Wayne Mardle and Stuart Pyke.

Most televised nine-darters[edit]

The following table lists the number of nine-darters scored by players who have scored a televised nine-darter.

Rank Player Nine-darters Last
1st England Phil Taylor
10
2014
2nd Netherlands Raymond van Barneveld
5
2010
3rd Netherlands Michael van Gerwen
4
2014
4th England Adrian Lewis
3
2014
5th England Mervyn King 2 2010
England James Wade 2014
England Darryl Fitton 2015
8th England John Lowe 1 1984
Singapore Paul Lim 1990
England Shaun Greatbatch 2002
England Tony O'Shea 2007
England John Walton 2007
Canada John Part 2011
Northern Ireland Brendan Dolan 2011
Australia Simon Whitlock 2012
Scotland Gary Anderson 2012
England Wes Newton 2012
England Dean Winstanley 2013
England Terry Jenkins 2013
Australia Kyle Anderson 2013
Scotland Robert Thornton 2014
Belgium Kim Huybrechts 2014

Televised nine-darters by year[edit]

Year Total 9 darters Achieved by
1984
1
John Lowe
1990
1
Paul Lim
2002
2
Shaun Greatbatch, Phil Taylor
2004
1
Phil Taylor
2005
1
Phil Taylor
2006
1
Raymond van Barneveld
2007
5
Michael van Gerwen, Phil Taylor (2), Tony O'Shea, John Walton
2008
2
Phil Taylor, James Wade
2009
4
Raymond van Barneveld (2), Mervyn King, Darryl Fitton
2010
5
Raymond van Barneveld (2), Phil Taylor (2), Mervyn King
2011
4
Adrian Lewis (2), John Part, Brendan Dolan
2012
7
Phil Taylor, Simon Whitlock, Gary Anderson, Michael van Gerwen (2), Wes Newton, Dean Winstanley
2013
2
Terry Jenkins, Kyle Anderson
2014
6
Phil Taylor, James Wade, Robert Thornton, Michael van Gerwen, Kim Huybrechts, Adrian Lewis

Televised nine-darters by tournament[edit]

Tournament Total 9 darters Org. Achieved by Last
PDC World Darts Championship
8
PDC Raymond van Barneveld (2), Adrian Lewis (2), Dean Winstanley, Michael van Gerwen, Terry Jenkins, Kyle Anderson 2015
PDC World Matchplay
6
PDC Phil Taylor (2), Raymond van Barneveld, John Part, Michael van Gerwen, Wes Newton 2014
UK Open
6
PDC Phil Taylor (4), Mervyn King, Gary Anderson 2012
Premier League Darts
6
PDC Raymond van Barneveld (2), Phil Taylor (3), Simon Whitlock 2012
World Grand Prix
3
PDC Brendan Dolan, James Wade, Robert Thornton 2014
European Championship
2
PDC Adrian Lewis, Michael van Gerwen 2014
Grand Slam of Darts
2
PDC James Wade, Kim Huybrechts 2014
International Darts League
2
BDO Phil Taylor, Tony O'Shea 2007
World Matchplay
1
BDO John Lowe 1984
BDO World Darts Championship
1
BDO Paul Lim 1990
Dutch Open
1
BDO Shaun Greatbatch 2002
Masters of Darts
1
both
Michael van Gerwen 2007
World Masters
1
BDO John Walton 2007
South African Masters
1
PDC Mervyn King 2009
Zuiderduin Masters
1
BDO Darryl Fitton 2009

Nine-dart-finish prize money[edit]

In 1984 John Lowe pocketed £102,000 for the first TV perfect leg. With nine-dart finishes now thrown on a regular basis the reward for throwing one has decreased. Until 2013 the PDC had a rolling £400 prize-pool for a nine-dart leg.[43] As long as it wasn't won, it increased by £400 for the next event. In 2013 the bonus stopped being awarded.[44] As of the 2015 tournament achieving the perfect leg in the PDC World Championships would win £10,000, (in the 2014 tournament the prize was £30,000). The reward for a 9-darter during the most recent BDO World Darts Championship was £52,000.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  2. ^ "John Lowe Biography". Unicorn Darts. Retrieved 25 October 2011. 
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  7. ^ "Nine-dart Lewis hits Jackpot". Sky Sports. 4 January 2011. Retrieved 25 October 2011. 
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  10. ^ Bartlett, Rob (14 December 2013). "Two nine-darters in an hour as Jenkins bows out". ESPN. Retrieved 15 December 2013. 
  11. ^ Planet Darts Phil Taylor profile
  12. ^ Video of Phil Taylor's 9 dart finish v Chris Mason – World Matchplay 2002
  13. ^ Taylor Wins Despite King Feat
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  15. ^ "All Time 9 Dart Club". DartsMad.com. Retrieved 2 December 2012. 
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  18. ^ "2007 Masters Of Darts Player Prize Money". Darts Database. Retrieved 23 June 2012. 
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  20. ^ "2007 World Masters Player Prize Money". Darts Database. Retrieved 23 June 2012. 
  21. ^ "UK Open - Fifth Round". 6 June 2008. Retrieved 1 January 2013. 
  22. ^ "World Championship Quarter-Finals". PDC Official Website. 2 January 2009. Retrieved 1 January 2013. 
  23. ^ "World Championship - Day Eight". PDC Official Website. 28 December 2009. Retrieved 1 January 2013. 
  24. ^ "Premier League Darts Night 12". PDC Official Website. 29 April 2010. Retrieved 1 January 2013. 
  25. ^ a b "Taylor Two Good At Wembley!". PDC Official Website. 24 May 2010. Retrieved 1 January 2013. 
  26. ^ "UK Open - Fifth Round". PDC Official Website. 5 June 2010. Retrieved 1 January 2013. 
  27. ^ "StanJames.com World Matchplay Day One". PDC Official Website. 17 July 2010. Retrieved 1 January 2013. 
  28. ^ "2010 World Matchplay Player Prize Money". Darts Database. Retrieved 23 June 2012. 
  29. ^ "Brilliant Lewis Hits The Jackpot!". PDC Official Website. 3 January 2011. Retrieved 1 January 2013. 
  30. ^ "2011 PDC World Championship Player Prize Money". Darts Database. Retrieved 23 June 2012. 
  31. ^ "Sky Bet Mobile World Matchplay - Night One". PDC Official Website PDC Official Website. 17 July 2011. Retrieved 1 January 2013. 
  32. ^ "Four-some Taylor's European Glory". PDC Official Website. 31 July 2011. Retrieved 1 January 2013. 
  33. ^ PartyPoker.com WGP Semi-Finals PDC.tv
  34. ^ "McCoy's Premier League Darts - Night Two Round-Up". PDC Official Website. 16 February 2012. Retrieved 1 January 2013. 
  35. ^ "Taylor's McCoy's Premier League Joy". PDC Official Website. 17 May 2012. Retrieved 1 January 2013. 
  36. ^ "Speedy Services UK Open Day Two". PDC Official Website. 8 June 2012. Retrieved 1 January 2013. 
  37. ^ "Betfair World Matchplay - Night Five". PDC Official Website. 26 July 2012. Retrieved 1 January 2013. 
  38. ^ "Betfair World Matchplay - Night Six". PDC Official Website. 27 July 2012. Retrieved 1 January 2013. 
  39. ^ "Ladbrokes World Championship Day Ten". PDC Official Website. 23 December 2012. Retrieved 1 January 2013. 
  40. ^ "Ladbrokes WDC Semi-Finals". PDC Official Website. 30 December 2012. Retrieved 1 January 2013. 
  41. ^ "Ladbrokes World Championship Day Two". PDC Official Website. 14 December 2013. Retrieved 14 December 2013. 
  42. ^ "Ladbrokes World Championship Day Two". PDC Official Website. 14 December 2013. Retrieved 14 December 2013. 
  43. ^ "Order of merrit explanation". PDC Official Website. Retrieved 29 October 2011. 
  44. ^ "Players Championship Prize Funds Boosted". PDC Official Website. 8 March 2013. Retrieved 13 November 2013. There is no nine-dart bonus for Players Championship events in 2013.