2022 World Matchplay: Draw, schedule, prize money, and preview for the Sky Sports-televised event

The biggest names in darts will be in action as the 29th annual World Matchplay gets underway at the infamous Winter Gardens in Blackpool.

There are few tournaments in darts more prestigious than the World Matchplay. In fact, many would argue this is the biggest event outside of the World Championship. 

For almost three decades, the Matchplay has delivered some of the most memorable moments in the sport. From nine darters and incredible comebacks to historic wins and Phil Taylor's indomitable winning run.

This year, expect more thrills and spills as many of the underdogs arrive in Blackpool looking to topple the big favourites.

Here, we take a closer look at the event, including the schedule, draw and prize money.

Who is involved at the World Matchplay?

The World Matchplay consists of 32 players - the top 16 competitors in the PDC's Order of Merit, as well as the top 16 ProTour Qualifiers.

Peter Wright arrives at the Winter Gardens not only as the current world number one, but also as the defending champion.

The Scotsman has been out-of-form in recent outings and recently vowed to turn around his "rubbish" year.

There will be a number of players confident of taking Wright's crown, including world number two Gerwyn Price.

The same could be said about Michael Smith, Michael van Gerwen and James Wade, who close out the top five in the world rankings.

However, while many keep a close eye on the top seeds, some of the ProTour Qualifiers shouldn't be underestimated.

Recent World Cup of Darts winner Damon Heta is a real danger man, while recent Players Championship winners Brendan Dolan, Adrian Lewis and Dirk van Duijvenobde are also capable of causing damage. 

What is the format for the World Matchplay?

The World Matchplay consists of a straightforward knockout format. The tournament will kick off on Saturday, July 16, and culminate on Sunday, July 24. 

First round - Best of 19 legs

Second round - Best of 21 legs

Quarter-finals - Best of 31 legs

Semi-finals - Best of 33 legs

Final - Best of 35 legs

Each game must be won by two clear legs, with up to a maximum of five additional legs being played before the sixth additional leg is sudden-death. For example, should a First Round game (best of 19 legs) reach 12-12, then the 25th leg would be the final and deciding leg.

What is the first-round draw for the World Matchplay?

Ed Mulholland/PDC
Ed Mulholland/PDC

Peter Wright vs Madars Razma

Krzysztof Ratajski vs Stephen Bunting

Jonny Clayton vs Rowby-John Rodriguez

Dimitri Van den Bergh vs Callan Rydz

Michael van Gerwen vs Adrian Lewis

Joe Cullen vs Damon Heta

James Wade vs Martin Lukeman

Luke Humphries vs Nathan Aspinall

Gerwyn Price vs Martin Schindler

Dave Chisnall vs Kim Huybrechts

Jose de Sousa vs Gabriel Clemens

Rob Cross vs Chris Dobey

Michael Smith vs Andrew Gilding

Dirk van Duijvenbode vs Ryan Searle

Gary Anderson vs Daryl Gurney

Danny Noppert vs Brendan Dolan

What is the schedule ahead of the World Matchplay?

Jonny Clayton into Premier League play-offs

Action from the Winter Gardens gets underway on Saturday with the likes of Krzysztof Ratajski, Dimitri Van den Bergh, Jonny Clayton and Peter Wright all in action.

Eight more first-round games will follow on a busy Sunday. The headline encounter sees Michael van Gerwen take on the two-time world champion Adrian Lewis.

The four remaining first-round matches will take place on Monday night with Rob Cross, Jose de Sousa, Gerwyn Price and Dave Chisnall in action.

Second round games will take place on Tuesday and Wednesday, while the quarter-finals will be held on Thursday and Friday.

Saturday (July 23) will see both semi-final clashes, while Sunday (June 24) will see the World Matchplay final.

How much prize money is on offer at the World Matchplay?

­­Winner: £200,000

Runner-up: £100,000

Semi-finalists: £50,000

Quarter-finalists: £30,000

Second round: £15,000

First round: £10,000

Who is the defending World Matchplay champion?

Peter Wright was in impervious form last year as he stormed to his first World Matchplay crown.

The Scotsman kicked off his campaign with a 10-2 demolition of Danny Noppert. Wright then averaged 105 in his victory over Joe Cullen before taking out Michael Smith in the quarter-final.

The 52-year-old was able to find another gear as he averaged a mammoth 110 in his 17-10 victory over long-time rival Michael van Gerwen. He finished the job a day later with an 18-9 win over Belgium's Dimitri Van den Bergh.

Where can I watch the World Matchplay?

Every single match at the 2022 World Matchplay will be shown live on Sky Sports.

Away from the UK, fans will be able to follow the action on platforms such as DAZN, Viaplay and PDCTV.

READ MORE: Peter Wright feeling refreshed and ready to hit form after 'rubbish' 2022

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