Phil Taylor will end a two-year exile from the PDC European Tour tonight, as qualification for October’s Unibet European Championship starts to hot up.
The 16-time world champion has missed the last 16 European Tour events, with his most recent appearance having been a second round defeat to Michael Smith in the Gibraltar Darts Trophy back in June of 2014.
At the end of last year, the PDC announced there would be changes to the qualification criteria for the European Championship, with this year seeing qualification based solely on prize money won in the 10 European Tour events held during the year.
Ahead of the Austrian Darts Open being held this weekend, Taylor is one of three players in the top 16 who is set to miss out.
Dutch duo Raymond van Barneveld and Vincent van der Voort are also currently not in the top 32 of the order of merit for the £400,000 tournament.
Taylor won the first four stagings of the European Championship between 2008 and 2011, while world number one Michael van Gerwen has emerged victorious at Belgium’s Ethias Arena for the last two years.
A run to the semi-finals in Vienna this weekend should put Taylor into the top 32. The 12th seed will begin his bid for a fourth European Tour title when he faces Steve West in the last 32 tonight.
Top seed van Gerwen takes on Jonny Clayton for his first game, while second seed Peter Wright will face Jermaine Wattimena.
2016 PDC Austrian Darts Open
Saturday, June 11
Afternoon Session (1pm-5pm local time, 12pm-4pm BST)
Alan Norris v Rowby-John Rodriguez
Stephen Bunting v James Richardson
Terry Jenkins v Dimitri Van den Bergh
Robert Thornton v Nigel Heydon
Ian White v Simon Stevenson
Simon Whitlock v Ron Meulenkamp
Gerwyn Price v Steve Beaton
Kim Huybrechts v Chris Dobey
Evening Session (7pm-11pm local time, 6pm-10pm BST)
Dave Chisnall v Jamie Caven
Jelle Klaasen v Zoran Lerchbacher
Peter Wright v Jermaine Wattimena
Michael van Gerwen v Jonny Clayton
Phil Taylor v Steve West
Mensur Suljovic v Kyle Anderson
Benito van de Pas v Josh Payne
Michael Smith v Mark Frost