BDO and PDC – Closer than ever?
As we all know, the once massive and at times toxic swamp between the PDC and the BDO has dried over in recent years, partly because of the passage of time, but partly also because of more collective maturity on the part of everybody involved in the game. Life’s too short to bicker, let’s just play darts!
Fans these days are fans of the sport and not the governing body so while there is still a bit of banter, especially when the Grand Slam comes along (and, let’s face it, makes it pretty clear whose players are the best), we all get on a lot better than we did in the 90s.
Des Jacklin, newly elected to the Chair of the BDO, has now announced that the original darting governing body, the one to which some of us tend to forget we are indebted to for the sport we have today, will allow PDC players to compete in their tournaments meaning that not only is there a way across the swamp but a way back if things don’t quite go as planned. Open borders is a modern trend – may not suit everybody, but it has its benefits.
If I am going to want, or expect, people to read my blogs about the sport I love most, then I should do my homework before writing them, but in this case readers will have to bear with me while I confess ignorance in a few areas.
Firstly, I don’t know how this new ruling is set to affect matchplay, tournament seedings, sponsorship. etc, in either organisation. I suspect that playing in any BDO tournament would not be much of a pay day for any PDC player in the Top 32 (especially if they have to miss PDC events for it), we might say that any PDC player now might fancy their chances of picking up a few honours playing in the other organisation’s tournaments. I am not writing this to say that any PDC player would win any BDO tournament, but it would not shock the darting world if the likes of Benito van de Pas were to pick up a few titles against even the cream of BDO talent – if he were to play.
This may not happen, Glen Durrant and Scott Waites are no pushovers, and as I said, PDC players will probably want to focus on climbing their own OOM so any time playing in the BDO is not likely to become the focus of their year – with there being bigger prizes on offer where they are right now.
Secondly, I don’t know if the BDO or the PDC will make any allowances for the new rules by scheduling tournaments in cooperation with one another, so there is no clash of majors, allowing top players to target the best of both organisation’s championships, but it is difficult to imagine the Champions League of Darts being brought forward even a few weeks so Mensur can play in the Isle of Man Classic, for example. So as I said above, BDO matchplay does not look set to appeal to high-ranking PDC players, for the time being at least.
Not wanting to make another statement of superiority on the part of the PDC, how many BDO players would make a lasting impression in their rival’s tournaments? There are cases, some very high profile, granted. But for every Gary Anderson there have been half a dozen top BDO players who have not impressed across the ‘swamp’, and many who have not even got their Q card, Tony O’Shea to name a brilliant player who fell short. Maybe he had a bad day at the office, but the record shows he did not make it, and he is a top top player.
The early winners in this are likely to be the female players who can now turn up to play MVG and RVB and know that they can go back to the BDO any time it suits either their schedule or ranking, as well as their accountant. Pardon my cynicism but with the prize money in darts, any player has the right to play for it, and how many of us fans would not join them on the oche with the same ambitions?
For the foreseeable future, the new ruling is not likely to change much on respective oches. PDC players may not consider it worth their while and BDO players may also feel that there is much to be gained by merely qualifying for a PDC major. The BDO is playing a bold card with this one and I applaud them for it. It will be good for the game.
But with the massive prize money in the PDC growing by the year, the dream of a glorious victory against the true greats of darts today could mean that the BDO has a harder fight to keep the attention of its own best players, as now they can try their hand in the PDC in the knowledge that they will be welcome back any time. No, nothing wrong with that.
Imagine if your twelve-year-old who is doing OK at school was allowed to take some courses at the better school down the road, with better teachers and facilities, yet go back to the regular school when he or she wants. Which place will they ultimately prefer to go to?
So will this move ultimately strengthen the BDO and allow it to continue the excellent work it does for the game among the likes of mum and dad, and the regulars down the local rather than the galacticos at the Ally Pally? Or will it pave the way to links between them and the PDC to the point at which the two governing bodies actually ….. ?
Dare I even think it?