Scotland’s Gary Anderson is the reigning champion (credit:Lawrence Lustig/PDC)
Gary Anderson will begin the defence of his World Matchplay title with a clash against debutant Danny Noppert at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool, while Michael van Gerwen has been drawn to face veteran Steve Beaton.
The 32-player show-piece takes place from July 20-28 in Blackpool as a star-studded field competes for the Phil Taylor Trophy and a record £700,000 prize fund.
Anderson, who claimed the prestigious title for the first time in 2018 courtesy of a 21-19 victory over Mensur Suljovic in an epic final, starts the defence of his crown against Dutch debutant Noppert – a former Lakeside finalist.
Van Gerwen, the number one seed and two-time champion, will take on former Lakeside Champion Beaton – a player making his 20th appearance in the sport’s summer show-piece.
James Wade, winner in 2007 and runner-up a further five times, launches his quest for further Matchplay glory with a tie against 2018 Blackpool semi-finalist Jeffrey de Zwaan.
This year’s Betfred
World Matchplay line-up features seven debutants, including Czech Open champion Jamie Hughes – who has been handed a show-down against world finalist Michael Smith.
One of the stand-out ties sees two-time World Champion Adrian Lewis take on reigning and three-time BDO World Champion Glen Durrant – making his highly-anticipated debut on the iconic Empress Ballroom stage.
World number two Rob Cross is tasked with a tricky opening tie against Premier League ‘Contender’ Chris Dobey, while world number three Daryl Gurney takes on another exciting debutant in ‘Rapid’ Ricky Evans.
Grand Slam champion Gerwyn Price will start out against 2014 Lakeside Champion Stephen Bunting, as 2017 Matchplay finalist Peter Wright comes up against fellow crowd favourite Vincent van der Voort.
Mensur Suljovic, last year’s beaten finalist, faces a clash of styles against quick-fire Dutchman Jermaine Wattimena, while two-time European Tour event winner this season – Ian White – plays 2018 Blackpool quarter-finalist Joe Cullen.
Poland’s Krzysztof Ratajski is the highest ranked ProTour Order of Merit qualifier and marks his debut with a tussle against 2018 quarter-finalist Darren Webster, while another intriguing contest sees Australian number one Simon Whitlock face former Grand Prix semi-finalist John Henderson.
Reigning UK Open and US Masters champion Nathan Aspinall is seeded number 13 on his Matchplay debut and will face seasoned campaigner Mervyn King, while world number 12 Dave Chisnall meets German number one Max Hopp.
Welsh ace Jonny Clayton, the number 14 seed, opens up against former World Youth Champion Keegan Brown in what looks to be another closely-matched encounter.
The full schedule of play will be confirmed in due course.
Betfred World Matchplay 2019 Draw
Michael van Gerwen (1) v Steve Beaton
Rob Cross (2) v Chris Dobey
Daryl Gurney (3) v Ricky Evans
Gary Anderson (4) v Danny Noppert
Michael Smith (5) v Jamie Hughes
Peter Wright (6) v Vincent van der Voort
Gerwyn Price (7) v Stephen Bunting
James Wade (8) v Jeffrey de Zwaan
Mensur Suljovic (9) v Jermaine Wattimena
Ian White (10) v Joe Cullen
Simon Whitlock (11) v John Henderson
Dave Chisnall (12) v Max Hopp
Nathan Aspinall (13) v Mervyn King
Jonny Clayton (14) v Keegan Brown
Darren Webster (15) v Krzysztof Ratajski
Adrian Lewis (16) v Glen Durrant