Top BDO stars set to join PDC
PHIL TAYLOR may have to take on THREE extra world champions as he bids to dominate darts again in 2009.
SunSport can exclusively reveal that current British Darts Organisation stars Mark Webster and Gary Anderson are set to join bitter rivals the Professional Darts Corporation.
The exodus to join the PDC and take on Taylor is planned after the BDO Lakeside World Championship ends on Sunday.
It is likely that the winner of the BDO title will join the PDC and controversially be handed a place in the Whyte and Mackay Premier League.
The top seed Anderson, from Berwickshire, will join the PDC if he wins his first World Championship while Webster will also move across once he has attempted to defend his title. Another former champ Andy Fordham is also thrashing out a deal to go to the PDC.
Tony O’Shea, currently No2 in the BDO rankings, is another top class player ready to join the high-earning stars of Barry Hearn’s PDC empire.
An oche insider said: "There’s little doubt that the PDC and Sky Sports is the elite place to play darts.
"You are testing your game against the best on the planet alongside Taylor, Raymond van Barneveld, James Wade and John Part.
"The prize money in the PDC for 2009 is now £5million which is well over five times what it is in the BDO.
"Even now the prize money pot for the World Championship, there’s a massive gulf between the two. The PDC was £740,000 while the BDO is £320,000. The PDC World Championship prize money for 2010 goes up to £1million - just for one event.
"The BDO players aren’t daft. They could go to the PDC, win the same amount of events and become a millionaire in two years."
There has been a steady flow of top class talent leaving the BDO for the PDC over the past few years including Van Barneveld, Jelle Klaasen, Mervyn King, Robert Thornton and Co Stompe.
King, who lost to Taylor in the World Championship semi-finals, said: "The standard is a lot higher, the prize-money is a lot higher and, as far as I^m concerned, I should have made the move five years ago.
"The standard is so much higher it^s got me playing proper darts again. My last two years at the BDO I didn^t practice and I was still in the top five, so that gives you some idea of the difference in standard.
"I went up to World No 23 in my first full year in the PDC and won their most improved player of the year award and this year I’m now up to World No6 and qualified for the Premier League - it just shows what you can achieve."
Welshman Webster and Anderson have always pledged their loyalty to the BDO, until now turning down the lure of cash.
Both have shown their class even in PDC events.
The Grand Slam, which allows players from both codes to compete, has seen Anderson make the semi-finals over the past two years while Webster made the quarter-finals before losing to King back in November.