PDC Ladbrokes World Championship
The PDC version of the world championship began its life in 1994 following the split from the BDO. It was staged at the Circus Tavern in Purfleet until 2008 when it moved to the Alexandra Palace. The main sponsor in the nineties was Skol Lager (Proton, Vernons & Red Band also had a go) and since 2003 Ladbrokes has been the prime sponsor.
When the split occurred and the rival WDC world championship set up, the only outlet was satellite tv and the prize money on offer was less than the BDO version. It wasn't until 2002 that PDC prize money exceeded the BDO pot. The two world championships still run in rivalry today and generate heated debate as to which is the 'true' championship.
There have only been six different champions in the competitions history. Phil Taylor has 14 titles to his name, winning all but one between 1995 and 2006. Between 1994 and 2007 he appeared in every final. Taylor won the title again in 2013 making him a 16-times World Darts Champion.
Adrian Lewis took the honours in 2011 beating Gary Anderson in the final, Phil Taylor having been eliminated from the tournament by Mark Webster at the quarter final stage. Lewis went on to successfully defend the title in 2012 by beating Andy Hamilton 7-3 in the final.
Dennis Priestley has won it once (beaten in four other finals by Phil Taylor), he won the first tournament after the split, beating Taylor in the final.
Raymond van Barneveld beat Taylor in a classic final in 2007 for his only title, adding to his four Lakeside titles.
John Part, won his third world title in 2008 and between 1995 and 2006 was the only player to break the Taylor stranglehold (2003). His third title also gave him the unique claim of being the only champion to win in three different venues.
When Dennis Priestley won the first title in 1994 he won £16,000 for his efforts. In 2008 John Part took home £100,000 with the runner up, 100-1 outsider Kirk Shepherd, bagging £50,000. Michael van Gerwen won the 2014 Ladbrokes World Championship and banked the £250k increased first prize.