MVG and Nicholson go head-to-head (credit:PDC)
Michael van Gerwen will begin his quest for a fourth Players Championship Finals title with a clash against Paul Nicholson at Butlins Minehead next month.
Get a 100% deposit bonus up to £50 when you join Sportingbet
The world number one initially claimed this crown in 2013 before winning it back-to-back in 2015 and 2016 – thrashing Dave Chisnall 11-3 in last year’s final.
Van Gerwen has been handed a show-down with a resurgent Nicholson – one of only four other players to have lifted this trophy, having done so back in 2010.
The ITV-televised tournament features the top 64 players from the Players Championship Order of Merit battling it out for a record £460,000 prize fund from November 24-26.
Qualification is based solely on performances across the series of 22 Players Championship tournaments which have been held during 2017, with Rob Cross topping the final Order of Merit after winning four of the events.
New sensation Cross marks his debut in the competition with a tie against Welshman Robert Owen – who claimed the 64th and final qualifying spot.
Gary Anderson, the 2014 champion, will take on Northern Ireland’s Mickey Mansell, while 2011 champion Kevin Painter is poised for a mouth-watering show-down with multiple major winner James Wade.
UK Open champion Peter Wright will meet Coventry’s Steve ‘Muffin Man’ Hine, as last year’s runner-up Dave Chisnall takes on Bolton’s Joe Murnan.
Champions League winner Mensur Suljovic meets Andy ‘X Factor’ Boulton, while World Grand Prix champion and number two seed Daryl Gurney comes up against Dutch youngster Jeffrey de Zwaan.
Other stand-out ties include 2012 finalist Kim Huybrechts’ clash with rising star Chris Dobey and Stephen Bunting’s show-down with the unseeded Benito van de Pas.
Former Lakeside winner Jelle Klaasen is also unseeded and has been handed a tie with Alan Norris, while two-time runner-up Adrian Lewis faces Belgium’s Mike de Decker.
World Grand Prix runner-up Simon Whitlock takes on dangerous Dutchman Christian Kist, as Auckland Masters champion Kyle Anderson bids to overcome a resurgent Ron Meulenkamp.
Play is held across two stages at the Butlins Minehead Resort. The full tournament schedule of play will be confirmed in due course.
Players Championship Finals 2017 Draw
Michael van Gerwen (6) vs Paul Nicholson
Steve West (27) vs Ryan Searle
Darren Webster (11) vs Antonio Alcinas
Mervyn King (22) vs Brendan Dolan
Michael Smith (14) vs Jan Dekker
Simon Whitlock (19) vs Christian Kist
Peter Wright (3) vs Steve Hine
Peter Jacques (30) vs Cristo Reyes
Dave Chisnall (7) vs Joe Murnan
James Wilson (26) vs William O’Connor
Kyle Anderson (10) vs Ron Meulenkamp
Justin Pipe (23) vs Mark Webster
Kim Huybrechts (15) vs Chris Dobey
Robert Thornton (18) vs James Richardson
Daryl Gurney (2) vs Jeffrey de Zwaan
Vincent van der Voort (31) vs Robbie Green
Mensur Suljovic (5) vs Andy Boulton
Stephen Bunting (28) vs Benito van de Pas
Jonny Clayton (12) vs Jeffrey de Graaf
Gerwyn Price (21) vs Jimmy Hendriks
Alan Norris (13) vs Jelle Klaasen
Steve Beaton (20) vs Ronny Huybrechts
Gary Anderson (4) vs Mickey Mansell
Jermaine Wattimena (29) vs Keegan Brown
Joe Cullen (8) vs Jamie Caven
James Wade (25) vs Kevin Painter
Ian White (9) vs Raymond van Barneveld
John Henderson (24) vs Darren Johnson
Richard North (16) vs Peter Hudson
Adrian Lewis (17) vs Mike de Decker
Rob Cross (1) vs Robert Owen
Steve Lennon (32) vs Zoran Lerchbacher
View the final Players Championship Order of Merit below…