Luke Littler is set to be banned from playing on the PDC Development Tour for the next two years after his incredible run to the World Darts Championship final. Littler’s rapid rise has taken the sporting world by storm, having become the youngest player to reach the final at Alexandra Palace and the youngest to hit a televised nine-darter at the Bahrain Masters.
The World Darts Championship is the only tournament to have earned Littler any prize money that has contributed to his ranking on the PDC Order of Merit. He scooped £200,000 for reaching the final, in which he was beaten by Luke Humphries, to put himself in 31st place.
The Order of Merit works on a two-year rolling system, with a player’s winnings over the last 24 months contributing to their ranking spot. All of Littler’s prize money has been won in the last year, making his position in the world’s top 32 relatively secure.
PDC rules state that any player who is otherwise eligible for its Development Tour cannot play on that particular tour if they are placed in the top 32 of the Order of Merit. Littler, therefore, will be unable to defend a number of the junior titles he won last year.
However, former tour card holder Matthew Edgar has claimed that Littler will be allowed to defend his World Youth Championship crown after receiving assurances from the PDC. The Nuke defeated Dutch hotshot Gian van Veen in the final back in November, recording an average score of 102.16 on his way to glory.
In a video on his YouTube channel, Edgar said: “The darts he’s playing, I would dare to say we’re never going to see Luke Littler once again playing on that Development Tour. Luke Littler is the World Youth Champion. Can he defend that title? That’s the twist in the tale.
“Yes, he can. I’ve looked at this, and I did reach out to the PDC in order to get confirmation. They have confirmed that Luke Littler can and will be in a position to defend his World Youth Championship this year.”
Littler has emerged as a household name since reaching the World Darts Championship final, with the 17-year-old winning his first senior title at the Bahrain Masters last month. He is also competing on this year’s Premier League tour, having earned himself a spot alongside seven of the world’s best players.