It's the first of the PDC Majors this year, after a long hard slog through the Premier League Darts season. And, I have to be honest, I love the UK Open. It's the chance for stars to be made, and it's cliches galore on the Sky Sports coverage, as they trot out the old "FA Cup of Darts" references thick and fast. We've had some interesting finals over the years, and some interesting finalists. Roland Scholten made his name at the UK Open, Shayne Burgess did the same. Robert Thornton kickstarted his faltering PDC career in this tournament last year, and now one of the second tier players will no doubt be looking for the same fortune. This huge field is bursting with talent, and if they draw goes the right way for one of them, we could see a bit of an upset winner, especially with the short format over the first few rounds.
Obviously Michael van Gerwen has been unstoppable, winning everything in his path since the 2013 World Championship Final, and he'll be coming in full of confidence, but if the draw isn't kind, he might not get lucky, as he has had some tight matches over the short format over recent weeks. Then there' Phil Taylor, and the same applies to him, minus the winning streak. The fact Taylor is coming into the tournament in the second round also speaks volumes about his season - he's not played much in the floor tournaments, while his main competitors have. Maybe that will go against him, or maybe he'll be match fresh. We'll find out over the next few days. The usual suspects are also out in force - Raymond van Barneveld, James Wade, Adrian Lewis, Simon Whitlock and Andy Hamilton, along with two of the big guns from the BDO, Robbie Green and Stephen Bunting, a man who many were speculating would jump ship to the PDC in January.
As always, we'll have the Premium Picks for the UK Open, and there's a plethora of matches to make a killing on.
You can sign up for the UK Open Premium Picks below.