Michael Smith is set to make his debut in the World Series of Darts after being selected among the players for the triple-header in New Zealand and Australia next month.
The former PDC world youth champion, who won the Gibraltar Darts Trophy in May, has been included for the first time following his strong recent run of form.
“It’s really exciting,” the 26-year-old said. “I’d have been happy to just be included for one event, but to get all three is really nice.
“The PDC have used different players this year and I wanted to get in. I’m working really hard and to be rewarded for the hard work I’ve put in feels really good.
“Just getting picked is one thing but I don’t want to go and not play my best darts – I want to go and hopefully take some titles.”
Gary Anderson will defend his title at the Auckland Darts Masters presented by TAB & Burger King after being confirmed alongside debutant Smith as competitors in the World Series triple-header in Australasia.
The two-time world champion claimed the title in Auckland last year among three victories on the World Series circuit in 2016.
The world number two retained his Dubai Darts Masters title in May with a stunning display in that event, and will be hoping to ensure that history repeats itself at the Trusts Arena from August 11-13.
Anderson will also then compete in the inaugural Melbourne Darts Masters from August 18-20, and at the TABtouch Perth Darts Masters from August 25-27, as the world’s top players continue their global tour.
“It was brilliant to win in Auckland last year and I’m really looking forward to getting back out there,” Anderson said.
“It’s a fantastic place and we’ve been given a great welcome by everyone in the last couple of years.
“It’s exciting that we then go to Melbourne for the first time and return to Perth, and it should be three really good tournaments.
“I’ve had a great start to the World Series by winning Dubai and I’d love it if I can win again in Auckland.”
Anderson will be joined by 16-time world champion Phil Taylor, world number three Peter Wright, five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld, seven-time major winner James Wade and Australia’s most successful ever player Simon Whitlock in all three events.
The eighth PDC representative will be confirmed at the end of this month following the BetVictor World Matchplay, with Michael van Gerwen and Adrian Lewis having both requested not to be considered for inclusion with their wives due to give birth around the time of the events.
Each of the tournaments will also feature eight Oceanic representatives, led by Australian star Kyle Anderson and reigning world youth champion Corey Cadby, who topped the DPA’s World Series Qualifiers Order of Merit to claim a spot in all three tournaments.
New Zealand’s Cody Harris has been invited to compete in Auckland, while the top two players from the DPNZ rankings and three DPNZ qualifiers from events on August 3-5 at the Swanson Memorial RSA will also secure spots in the event.
Rhys Mathewson, who knocked out Wade in the Sydney Darts Masters on his TV debut last year, and Justin Thompson will also compete in Melbourne and Perth after qualifying through the DPA World Series Qualifiers standings.
The DPNZ will hold a qualifier this Sunday to find one qualifier for the Melbourne and Perth events, while three places in the events will be filled up by qualifiers.