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Record field set for 2020 PDC Qualifying School

Mark Webster opts out of entering 2020 Qualifying School

Jamie Shaw in Q School 14 Jan 2020
Webster is planning a return to competitive action in 2021 (Photo by Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

Former World Champion Mark Webster has announced he will not be competing at 2020 PDC Qualifying School after losing his Tour Card at the end of last season.

Webster, 36, dropped out of the world’s top 64 after his failure to qualify for the recent William Hill World Championship culminated an 18-month struggle for results.

The Welsh left-hander enjoyed his finest hour when he was crowned BDO World Champion at Lakeside in 2008 before joining the PDC a year later and going on to reach two World Championship Semi-Finals, as well as the Players Championship Final.

Appearances in TV majors have proved few and far between for ‘Webby’ in recent years, and though his form improved towards the back end of 2019, it was not enough for him to avert dropping off the tour.

Webster, who also works as a television pundit and commentator, told Live Darts in December that he was still undecided over his playing future and was mulling over a trip to Qualifying School, admitting: “My general feeling is I go to Q School and give it a go because I’m playing alright.

“I’m sure I’ll get the bug back and we’ll see how it goes.

“It’s not something I look forward to but it could give me the kick up the backside I need.

“If I get the Tour Card then great, I go back on the tour, if I don’t then I don’t know what I’ll do after that to be honest.”

Webster, however posted a series of Tweets on Tuesday revealing his decision not to enter Q School in order to take a break from tournament action and work towards a return in the coming years.

“After careful consideration, I have decided not to enter the 2020 PDC Q School this week,” said Webster.

“It was massively disappointing for me to lose my Tour Card at the end of 2019. I’d given everything last year but it wasn’t enough in the end and I’ve got no complaints.

“I’ve still got the desire to come back again in future, I love the buzz of playing and want to be part of the big events again, but at the moment the best thing for my game is to have a break from competition and to work to try to get my game back to the level which I know I can achieve.”

Qualifying School takes place in Wigan and Hildesheim from January 16-19, with two automatic Tour Cards up for grabs each day, as well as a further amount via the Q School Order of Merit table at the close of play on Sunday.

Alan Norris, Paul Nicholson, Kevin Painter, Fallon Sherrock, Mikuru Suzuki, Scott Mitchell, Jim Williams, Scott Waites, Andy Hamilton, Michael Unterbuchner and Richard Veenstra are among the notable entrants so far.