Grand Slam of Darts
Created by Barry Hearn's PDC and held for the first time in 2007, the GSOD was in direct competition with the other PDC/BDO crossover tournaments - the World Darts Trophy, International Darts League and Masters of Darts. It was effectively the death knell for these 3 tournaments which folded in 2008.
Those 3 featured players from both codes but were all held and televised only in Holland. The GSOD was held in England and televised by ITV, who ended their long exile from the game, however ITV4 relinquished their coverage to Sky sports in 2011. The venue for the Grand Slam of Darts has always been the Wolverhampton Civic Centre.
Initially qualification for the GSOD came from success in other major tournaments - a final appearance in one of the PDC or BDO majors secures a spot with 32 places up for grabs. In 2007 this didn't fill all the 32 places so Dennis Priestley, Ronnie Baxter, Kevin Painter and Scott Waites made it in as the highest ranked PDC and WDF players. A wildcard qualifying tournament produced two more players with five more places going to players from Australia, South Africa and North America. The qualification criteria has evolved with the tournament and varies each year.
In 2007 all BDO players accepted their invites with the exception of loyal BDO stalwart Martin Adams. BDO players who competed included Gary Anderson the WDT and IDL champion, and Mark Webster who was soon to become Lakeside champion. The BDO, in their wisdom, decided to switch the World Masters to the same date as the GSOD in direct competition and as a challenge to their own players. Adams opted for the Masters and lost in the quarters winning £1250. The PDC have decided to no longer invite Martin Adams to the Grand Slam due to his decision to turn down three consecutive invitations in 2007, 2008 and 2009.
The prize fund for 2011 will be a whopping £400k with £100k for the winner. There's a guaranteed £2.5k just for turning up. William Hill will sponsored the 2011 tournament, which has previously been sponsored by The Mirror (2010), PartPoker.com (2008-2009) & PartyBets.com in 2007.
The format sees a group stage which produces 16 players who progress to a knockout phase. Games are played as matchplay leg races. The 2007 tournament also saw the emergence of youngster Kevin McDine who came through the wildcard qualifiers with Chris Mason.
Phil Taylor won the event for the first three years, beating Andy Hamilton in 2007, Terry Jenkins in 2008 and Scott Waites in 2009. In 2010, BDO player Waites returned to Wolverhampton to lift the title beating James Wade after staging a dramatic comeback from 0-8.