Hurricane Season on the PDC Tour
This weekend the PDC tour moves to Ireland where there are two Players Championship tournaments prior to the World Grand Prix which starts on Sunday.
September has seen the formidable world number one Michael van Gerwen winning 5 ranking tournaments in a row. At the very start of September in a tournament which van Gerwen was absent from it was Mensur Suljovic who took advantage winning his first PDC ranking tournament by beating the Belgian Kim Huybrechts in the final. Huybrechts went on to reach the semi-finals in 3 of the next 5 tour events with van Gerwen ending his run in each of those semi-finals.
Although not winning tournaments it’s been very consistent form from ‘The Hurricane’, the consistent form for Huybrechts didn’t just come in September though as he also reached 3 semi-finals during July. In total since the start of July Huybrechts has played 12 tournaments and has reached the semi-finals or better in 7 of those tournaments.
The good form wasn’t always evident in the early part of the year though, as Huybrechts managed just 1 semi-final appearance in his opening 21 ranking tournaments of 2016. This is a similar pattern to 2015 where he failed to make a semi-final appearance in his opening 23 ranking tournaments of the 2015 season before going on a run of making the semi-finals or better in 6 of 13 tournaments later on in the season.
The following chart shows the comparison of Huybrechts win percentage during 2015 & 2016 in the months of July/August/September/October, compared to the months in the rest of the season.
As you can see his record in those four months of the season during the last two years is far superior to the rest of the year having won 74.3% of his matches compared to 60.2%.
Next I look at the number of semi-finals reached in ranking tournaments held in the months of July, August, September and October in the last 2 seasons (obviously we are yet to enter October in 2016).
These numbers show that only Michael van Gerwen has matched the number of ranking semi-finals reached by Kim Huybrechts in the specified period. It has to be said that MVG has gone on to win 9 tournaments from his 12 semi-finals whilst Huybrechts has just 1 tournament win from his 12 semi-finals.
It isn’t just over the last 2 years that Huybrechts has found most success during this part of the season. As the next chart shows with the comparison of his tournaments wins, final appearances and semi-final appearances (from 2012 to 2016).
Of the 4 tournaments he has won, 3 came between the start of July to the end of October. He has reached 12 ranking finals since 2012 and 8 of these were within the July-October period whilst 4 came during other months of the season (he did have his best run in a TV tournament outside in December though when he reached the Players Championship Finals in 2012). The majority of his semi-final appearances have also been between the start of July to the end of October.
My final chart compares the ranking match win % of Kim Huybrechts against the current top six ranked players on the PDC Order of Merit. The comparison takes place on combined matches played from the 1st July to 31st October in the years 2012 to 2016.
It is no surprise to see Michael van Gerwen sitting at the top with Phil Taylor in second place but it is very interesting to note that the win percentage of Kim Huybrechts during July, August, September and October over the last 5 years (2012 to 2016) is higher than that of James Wade, Gary Anderson, Peter Wright and Adrian Lewis.
Whilst Huybrechts has been strong in the months ranging from July to October he hasn’t always been able to maintain those strong performances right through to the end of the season, though as mentioned he did reach a major TV final in December 2012 and has a Grand Slam semi-final appearance in 2014 when the tournament wasn’t a ranking event. It is mainly in the early months of the season where he has struggled to get going with any real consistency (especially during the last two seasons).
Whatever the reasons, or if it is just a coincidence, I think the period from the start of July to the end of October can be classed as ‘Hurricane Season’ when Huybrechts is at his most dangerous so beware he may well cause some more damage at tournaments over the next month!
Apologies it’s a corny end to the article I know, but I had to finish it somehow :-).