Michael van Gerwen will play Jamie Caven as he begins his bid for consecutive BetVictor World Matchplay titles in Blackpool, with the tournament draw also pitting world champion Gary Anderson against debutant Alan Norris.
Van Gerwen beat James Wade 18-12 to win the World Matchplay for the first time last year, and his title defence starts with a first round clash against world number 23 Jamie Caven.
Phil Taylor has enjoyed a remarkable run of success since the World Matchplay’s introduction in 1994, triumphing 15 times at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens.
The 16-time world champion will open his challenge against Robbie Green, who qualified on the final day on Sunday to book his first appearance in the World Matchplay since 2004.
The only other previous World Matchplay champion in the 32-player field for the 2016 event, world number six Wade, will play Mervyn King in his first round tie at the Winter Gardens.
Reigning world champion Anderson opens his challenge to claim a first World Matchplay title against world number 29 Norris, while fourth seed Adrian Lewis takes on Mark Webster in a battle of former world champions.
Elsewhere in the draw, UK Open finalist Peter Wright faces Joe Cullen, former world youth champion Michael Smith goes up against Simon Whitlock and Dave Chisnall takes on Benito van de Pas.
Josh Payne will make his Winter Gardens debut against Robert Thornton, while Daryl Gurney’s first visit to Blackpool begins with a first round clash with 12th seed Ian White.
Former world champion Stephen Bunting meets Mensur Suljovic, 16th seed Vincent van der Voort opens up against Australia’s Kyle Anderson and Kim Huybrechts takes on Gerwyn Price.
Former World Matchplay finalists Raymond van Barneveld and Terry Jenkins begin their campaigns against Brendan Dolan and Justin Pipe respectively, while Jelle Klaasen faces Steve Beaton.
BetVictor World Matchplay
First Round Draw & Draw Bracket
Michael van Gerwen (1) v Jamie Caven
Vincent van der Voort (16) v Kyle Anderson
Robert Thornton (8) v Josh Payne
Dave Chisnall (9) v Benito van de Pas
Peter Wright (5) v Joe Cullen
Ian White (12) v Daryl Gurney
Adrian Lewis (4) v Mark Webster
Kim Huybrechts (13) v Gerwyn Price
Gary Anderson (2) v Alan Norris
Terry Jenkins (15) v Justin Pipe
Michael Smith (7) v Simon Whitlock
Jelle Klaasen (10) v Steve Beaton
James Wade (6) v Mervyn King
Raymond van Barneveld (11) v Brendan Dolan
Phil Taylor (3) v Robbie Green
Stephen Bunting (14) v Mensur Suljovic