PDC Top 16 – Who is finding form or fading out?

The traditional summer break has ended and the PDC Pro Tour circuit swings back into action this week with the European Darts Trophy from the RWE Sporthalle in Mülheim, Germany.

This is the start of vital months of ranking tournaments culminating in the World Championship.
All-important places in the top 16 of the rankings are at stake in the upcoming months, with some players vying to keep their places in the elite 16 and others aiming to carry on upward progression.

I decided to analyse how the current top 16 ranked players have improved or declined over recent seasons and the findings are interesting to see.

The following graphic shows their win % at the end of 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and the first part of 2015. This is only in ranking events so no data for the Premier League, Grand Slam of Darts etc.

The colours on the chart show their high win & and low win % during the periods between 2011 and 2015. This ranges from a high of dark green, down to a low of red. (The scale is Dark Green, Light Green, Yellow, Amber and Red).


Things of note from the graphic are:

Michael van Gerwen’s impressive leap from a lowly 59% win rate in 2011 to 78% in 2012 a rise of 20% which rose again by 10% in 2013. Following a dip in 2014 he is now as high as 90%. It has to be said though that the dip on 2014 was still a win % of 81% which is as good as any other player during that year.

Gary Anderson’s form in 2011 was second only to Taylor. The sharp drop that occurred in 2012 and 2013 saw him drop into the 60%’s but last year he returned to the heights of 2011 with a 80% win percentage. This season has seen a dip and it will be interesting to see which way his numbers go the rest of the season.

Phil Taylor’s win % has dropped since 2012 but his win % of 2013, 2014 and 2015 is still higher than most of the top players in the World.

Adrian Lewis and James Wade have had very similar patterns over the years used for this graphic , their win % has risen to a high in 2015, can they maintain this for the rest of the season?

Dave Chisnall has recovered from a poor 2014 but can he hit the highs of 2012 when he had a win % of 73.6%.

Thornton is underperforming this year. His record over the last 3 years was consistent, but he is having his poorest season since 2011.

After adjusting to the PDC in 2011 Ian White has maintained a win % level of 68/69%. The challenge for White is now can he lift it into the 70%’s.

Simon Whitlock and Raymond van Barneveld are both following the same trend with a peak in 2012 and gradual regression since then. The win % in 2012 does show what they are capable of but they need to return to that level or they will continue to slide down the rankings.

Brendan Dolan improved impressively from 2011 to 2012 lifting his win % by around 12% and he built on that in 2013. Dolan’s win rate in 2015 though is his lowest since 2011 and he needs to stop it sliding any lower.

Mervyn King and Terry Jenkins have both seen their form rise and fall over the last 5 years, the win percentage for both in 2015 is the lowest in the 5 years so both will have to raise their game if they are to say in the top 16.

Michael Smith’s win percentage is showing an excellent progression, having risen around 13% since 2011, although he is slightly down on his 2014 rate it’s not a significant fall he should be concerned about.

Kim Huybrechts has seen his original progression in 2012 fade and over the last 3 years his win % has gone backwards. Huybrechts is a player capable of more but needs more consistency to stay in the top 16.

There may not be anything new about the parts I have picked out as the rankings do also show these trends but I think the chart is still revealing.


Having produced the chart above my mind got thinking about if I were to split the season into two, before August and after August what would the win % for each player look like during the 5 years and again the chart does make interesting reading.

I would suggest taking some time to look at the chart and digest what it is showing as it can look a bit ‘hectic’ at a first glance. The format and colouring is the same as the first chart the only difference is the years have been split into two.
(You can click on the chart to enlarge if it appears too small on your screen)


Some points to note in this chart are:

Again it highlights the rise of MVG, the dip in win % in the latter part of 2013/early 2014, even though he was successful in this period in winning the World Championship and looking at the other win %’s for the last part of 2013 we can see that his win % was still higher than most.

The win % of Phil Taylor has dipped in the 2nd half of the season in each of the last 4 years. Will this continue in 2015?

The rise, fall and rise again of Adrian Lewis and James Wade are very closely matched; following their path over the last 5 years shows a very similar outcome.

Chisnall’s two highest win % periods were followed by a significant drop in the following period. (2012 1st and 2nd part of year and end of 2013 to early 2014).

Terry Jenkins has had a drop off in form in the 2nd half of the season for the past 4 years. In 2011 by 9%, 2012 by 13%, 2013 by 6% and in 2014 by 8.8%. With a poor start to the season in 2015 he can’t afford a similar regression in the months to come.


Finally I decided to analyse some players outside the top 16 and top 32 who were prominent players in the not too far distant past but have slipped down the rankings. This also makes very interesting reading though not for all of those players unfortunately.


I haven’t added any analysis for this chart. Will they return to form? Some may, some may not, but all have shown they have been capable of competing with the best, and no matter what happens in the future not many darts players ever reach the highs some of these players have.

I hope enjoyed my finding and you found them as interesting as I did. Feel free to comment on anything you found surprising or worth pointing out and thank you for reading my blog!


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