US Darts Masters: Preview

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The 2024 bet365 US Darts Masters gets underway in New York on Friday, as the biggest names in world darts return to Madison Square Garden.

The sixth staging of the US Darts Masters will take place in The Theater at MSG on May 31-June 1, with 16 players competing for £60,000 in prize money and the coveted title.

Reigning champion Michael van Gerwen headlines the star-studded field, which also includes newly crowned Premier League champion Luke Littler and World Champion Luke Humphries.

Top seed Van Gerwen will open his title defence with a clash against quick-fire American Danny Lauby, and the Dutchman is hoping his latest visit to New York can inspire a return to winning ways.

“I had a great win here last year, and I hope I can produce a nice follow-up for the American fans,” declared Van Gerwen, who also lifted this title in Las Vegas in 2017.

June 3, 2023; New York, NY, USA; Michael van Gerwen celebrates his finals win over Jeff Smith in the bet365 US Masters Tournament at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York, NY. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland/PDC

“Danny is a good player. He is on the PDC tour now so he knows what it’s like to play on a weekly basis at the highest level, so I need to make sure I perform.

“It is always special to play here. It’s one of the most iconic venues in the world; everybody who loves sport knows what this venue means.

“This is a fresh start for me after the Premier League, and I’m looking forward to playing tomorrow.”

Friday’s first round will see the eight PDC superstars locking horns with the eight North American representatives, as Littler prepares to make his highly-anticipated debut in the Big Apple.

The 17-year-old sensation will meet Canadian number one Matt Campbell for a place in the quarter-finals, in a repeat of their third round clash at the World Darts Championship in December.

Littler has made a terrific start to his World Series career, following up debut glory in Bahrain with a run to the final in Den Bosch in January, and he’s hopeful of maintaining that form at Madison Square Garden.

“We just keep going on this rollercoaster journey,” claimed Littler, the pre-tournament favourite with title sponsor bet365.

May 29, 2024: Press Conference in Chase Square Lobby in Madison Square Garden for the 2024 Darts Tournament.

“We keep travelling to these amazing places like New York, and I’m just enjoying the ride at the moment.

“So many athletes and superstars have performed there and now we’re going to be there. I can’t wait, it’s so exciting.

“Darts has gone worldwide. I know the US Masters has been going for quite a few years now, and it’s just good to increase the popularity of the sport in the [United] States.”

The draw also pitted world number one Humphries against Canadian veteran David Cameron, who won through the CDC Qualifiers earlier this month to seal his big stage return.

However, it has already been a special few days for Humphries, who celebrated his engagement on Thursday after proposing to his partner Kayley at The Edge at Hudson Yards – New York’s highest outdoor Skydeck.

“There’s been a lot of planning going on behind the scenes, but I wanted to propose somewhere special,” revealed the 29-year-old.

“New York is one of her favourite cities, so what better place to do it? This was perfect timing; it was a magical moment.”

Humphries – seeded fourth this weekend – is now aiming to cap off a memorable week by opening his World Series of Darts account at Madison Square Garden.

“It would mean a lot to win this title. This is the one out of all the World Series events on the calendar that I would love to win the most,” added Humphries, who made a special appearance with Littler at Thursday’s New York Rangers ice hockey game in front of 18,000 fans.

“I haven’t done as well in World Series events as I would have liked so far, but after proposing this week, lifting the title in New York would another special touch to this trip.”

One of Friday’s stand-out opening round ties will see 2022 US Darts Masters champion Michael Smith face North American champion Jeff Smith – also a US Darts Masters runner-up in 2023.

World number three Smith stormed to victory on the PDC’s first visit to New York two years ago, and the St Helens star is hoping to replicate that success this time around.

“It doesn’t get any better than this,” insisted Smith, one of three former champions in the field.

“You think about where you’re playing – Madison Square Garden – and you just get instant goosebumps.

“It’s probably the most iconic arena in the world, and to have been part of that for the last three years is something special.

“Things didn’t go to plan in the Premier League [last Thursday], but I’ve had six days away from that, I’m over it now and my main focus is trying to win my US title back.”

Elsewhere, 2019 champion Nathan Aspinall goes up against Grand Slam quarter-finalist Stowe Buntz for a place in the last eight, while Gerwyn Price has been pitted against Dutch-born American Jules van Dongen.

Peter Wright kicks off his campaign against CDC Cross Border Challenge winner Alex Spellman in another intriguing tie, as Rob Cross meets debutant Adam Sevada in the tournament’s curtain-raiser.

Following Friday’s first round, the US Darts Masters will conclude on Saturday evening, featuring the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final during a bumper session of action in The Theater at MSG.

Meanwhile, on Saturday afternoon, the bet365 North American Championship will take place, as the eight North American challengers compete for the coveted title and a place in this year’s World Darts Championship and Grand Slam of Darts.

Reigning champion Smith will open his title defence with a blockbuster showdown against top seed Campbell, while second seed Lauby locks horns with newcomer Sevada.

Van Dongen and Buntz go head-to-head in an all-American affair, while Spellman plays Cameron for a place in the semi-finals.

The bet365 US Darts Masters will be broadcast live through DAZN in the US and Canada, as well as in various other worldwide territories and exclusively in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

Other live global coverage will be broadcast through Viaplay in various territories including the Netherlands, as well as via PDCTV in all countries outside Germany, Austria and Switzerland, and ITVX in the UK.

Delayed ITV coverage in the UK will be as follows:

  • 1700-2100 BST Saturday on ITV4 – showing First Round
  • 1125-1525 BST Sunday on ITV4 – showing Quarter-Finals, Semi-Finals & Final

2024 bet365 US Darts Masters

Draw Bracket

(1) Michael van Gerwen v Danny Lauby

Rob Cross v Adam Sevada

(4) Luke Humphries v David Cameron

Nathan Aspinall v Stowe Buntz

(2) Luke Littler v Matt Campbell

Michael Smith v Jeff Smith

(3) Gerwyn Price v Jules van Dongen

Peter Wright v Alex Spellman

2024 bet365 North American Darts Championship

Draw Bracket

(1) Matt Campbell v Jeff Smith

(4) Alex Spellman v David Cameron

(2) Danny Lauby v Adam Sevada

(3) Jules van Dongen v Stowe Buntz

Friday May 31 (1900 EST)

bet365 US Darts Masters

First Round

Rob Cross v Adam Sevada

Nathan Aspinall v Stowe Buntz

Peter Wright v Alex Spellman

Gerwyn Price v Jules van Dongen

Michael van Gerwen v Danny Lauby

Luke Humphries v David Cameron

Luke Littler v Matt Campbell

Michael Smith v Jeff Smith

All games – best of 11 legs

Saturday June 1 (1300 EST)

2024 bet365 North American Darts Championship

Schedule of Play

Quarter-Finals

Matt Campbell v Jeff Smith

Alex Spellman v David Cameron

Danny Lauby v Adam Sevada

Jules van Dongen v Stowe Buntz

Semi-Finals

Campbell/Smith v Spellman/Cameron

Lauby/Sevada v Van Dongen/Buntz

Final

v

All games – best of 11 legs

2024 bet365 US Darts Masters

Evening Session (1900 EST)

Quarter-Finals – best of 11 legs

Semi-Finals – best of 13 legs

Final – best of 15 legs

—–ENDS—–

Images: Ed Mulholland/PDC







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