This season has seen an increase from seven players to ten. I liked this as I felt it has made players work to take their places in the semi-final playoffs at the end of the tournament in comparison to having four from seven to qualify, giving players the reminder that they have a better chance of qualifying than being eliminated. The Darts PL recognized this and increased their entry to eight players. Personally I think ten players is a good number to have in the competition.
The Best of 5 frame format. - I'm not advocating that Best of 5 frames is a good format to use but I think playing the match as 'best of' rather than 'over six frames' has made games more competitive, it always feels anticlimatic to have a thrilling match played out only for the game to play 3-3. Having the best of format has meant that every single frame has now counted for something.
As people have noted, this competition has featured a series of mini-tournaments. Though as I said I've enjoyed this competition, I do think that having a series of competitions has not worked. The issue here is that we have had potentially players in the league playing eight games and others like White playing four games. The 'League style' has been diluted to a great extent in this respect.
The changing of the 'rules' mid match. I've said before that I think that the 'Shoot-out' tournament as a concept is a very good idea in itself, and that the 'shoot-out' competition is good (though I think can be improved) it shouldn't be brought into a match which has reached 2-2.
The 'Champions Cup' nature of qualification. I do think that having a tournament which includes all of the previous seasons main tournaments winners is a very good idea and as was held on ITV from 1999-2001, there is a scope for this competition. - But this shouldnt be in the Premier League where we have naturally had Jimmy White ranked 55th at the start of the season in the tournament at the expense of several of the top 16. Although Jimmy's ranking has risen by a few places he has finished bottom of the table which most will have expected to happen lets be honest. It's also devalued the idea that the Championship League is a tournament with a premier league place at stake.Given Darren Morgan's not on tour I'd be surprised if he got to be in the Premier League 2012.
What should be done then?
I do think that ten players is a good idea for a premier league but I do think the players who should be invited could be and should be very different.
Top Four players in the World Seeding list at the end of the season.
Top 2 players in the PTC Order of Merit not already qualified
World Champion (3rd in the Order of Merit)
Defending Premier League champion (4th in the OOM)
Championship League winner
1 Wild Card
With the slots allocated to the Premier League by SKY at present I would split the ten players into Two Groups of Five, with action alternating with Group A being held one week followed by Group B another. The top two in each group qualifying for the Play-offs.
25 Second Shot Clock as before (Before the bullets head my way, recently it's what has given the tournament its identity) Only with the Same Time-out rules as before.
Matches in the League stage best of 7 frames. As I've said before I dont think draws are a good idea, perhaps best of 6 if draws need to be an option but at least end the match once its clear who has won. This does allieviate the potential for match fixing which playing out six frames can create. Again, 2 pts for a win and 1 point for a draw if its needed.
Play-off format is fine in terms of frames, Winner of each group playing the runner up in the other.
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