The Premier League of Darts tournament was born in 2005 and brings together the cream of the PDC professionals to battle out for the title and whopping prize pool. Every year has been televised on Sky Sports and Phil Taylor won succesive trophies to 2008.
In 2009 James Wade took the honours, Taylor regained his crown in 2010 but debutant Gary Anderson emerged victorious in 2011. Taylor won again in 2012 but had to play runner-up to Michael van gerwen in 2013.
Originally consisting of seven players, the tournament has now been expanded to eight, and includes the top four players in the PDC Order of Merit (previously top 6) along with four wildcards (previously 2 wildcards). In 2011 the wildcards were chosen by the PDC and by broadcasters Sky Sports
The format of the competition consists of a round robin group stage where all players play each other twice. the top four in the league then go forward to the finals night with two semi finals and a final deciding the outright winner. The group phase is a typical league format but with the added extra of 'Legs Won Against The Throw' (LWAT) to separate players should it be needed.
The first year was sponsored by 888.com. Holsten sponsored the next two years and were succeeded in 2008 by Whyte & Mackay. 888.com resumed sponsorship in 2011 the prize pool being £400,000 with £125,000 going to the winner and each player guaranteed at least £25,000.
James Wade made his debut in 2008 and became the first player to defeat Phil Taylor. The Power had gone 44 matches from day one in 2005 without losing a single match. Taylor got his own back though, beating Wade in the 2008 final to lift his fourth successive Premier League trophy. Taylor's average of 112.68 in the semi final against Adrian Lewis was the highest recorded in the four years of running.
Phil Taylor is the only ever present, having contested all years from 2005 to present. Raymond van Barneveld was a wilcard entry in 2006 having switched from the BDO to the PDC. He subsequently went on to hit a 9-dart finish in the group phase and ignite a rivalry with Phil Taylor that would explode over the next couple of years.