Huntly’s darts ace John Henderson hopes to use five Pro Tour Players Championship events in Germany to propel himself back into the world’s top 32 and qualify for the World Grand Prix.
The Highlander is in Niedernhausen to play in a qualifier for the World Series of Darts Finals tomorrow followed by five Players Championship events over five consecutive days.
Henderson hasn’t played since July and the Summer Series of five Players Championship events in Milton Keynes where he missed out on qualification for the World Matchplay.
He sits 33rd on the PDC’s two-year ranking list and 34th on the one-year Pro Tour order of merit ranking list. His aim is to force his way into the top 32 on both lists.
Henderson said: “We never thought these events would be played a couple of months ago.
“We had five in Milton Keynes, these five and then we’re set to have another five in the Winter Series. I need to hit the ground running, because if you get off to a good start it builds up the confidence and sets you up for the next four days.
“I didn’t win a game for the first three days in the Summer Series and if you don’t it becomes harder with each passing days.
“I’m £250 off the top 32 in the Pro Tour order of merit and I’m only a couple of thousand off the top 32 in the main order of merit.
“I’m glad I’ve got this opportunity to try to make up the ground and get back in the top 32.”
Securing a place inside the top 32 on the Pro Tour order of merit should be enough for Henderson to qualify for next month’s World Grand Prix.
The unique double-start event is one the 47-year-old has played in for the last three years and after missing out on the World Matchplay he’s doubly determined to qualify for the Grand Prix.
Henderson added: “Missing out on the World Matchplay was a sickener, because if you get to the matchplay you’ve almost got one foot in the World Grand Prix.
“So missing that was a big thing, because the money from playing in it before comes off the ranking and it makes getting to the grand prix harder.
“I’ve got this opportunity to get there and the grand prix has been a good tournament for me in the past. It’s important for me to get there.
“Hopefully over the next week I can get myself in a position to qualify for it.”
Prior to the Players Championship tournaments is tomorrow’s World Series Finals qualifier with players battling it out for the final four spots in an invitational event that will be played in the Austrian city of Salzburg next weekend.
Although keen to qualify, Henderson reckons the qualifier will also be good preparation ahead of five days of Pro Tour action.
He said: “It doesn’t go on your ranking, but there is good money available and I’m pleased that it’s before the Players Championships.
“The reason being that I haven’t played competitively since July at the Summer Series, so this gives me a chance of match practice.
“I started off slowly at the Summer Series and I put it down to having not had competitive matches for a long time.
“So I’m glad to have the World Series qualifier first. I’ll be trying 100% to qualify, but it’s not the end of the world if I don’t, because it doesn’t go on my ranking.”
Some players have expressed concerns about travelling to Germany for the events with Scotland’s two-time world champion Gary Anderson opting to withdraw.
Any player who tests positive for coronavirus in Germany will immediately have to self-isolate for 14 days.