Michael van Gerwen (born 25 April 1989 in Boxtel) is a Dutch professional darts player currently ranked world number one. He began playing darts at the age of 13 and had won the World Masters and thrown a televised nine-dart finish within four years, becoming the youngest player to do either. However, after this initial burst onto the darting scene, van Gerwen struggled for consistent form until his breakthrough year in 2012. Going from world number 38 at the start of 2012 to number 4 at the beginning of 2013, the year included his first major PDC title at the Grand Prix and a final at the 2013 World Championship. In 2014, at the age of 24, van Gerwen became the youngest winner of the PDC World Championship. After claiming the 2015 Grand Slam of Darts he completed a set of winning all current major PDC titles at least once during his career. He averaged 123.40, the highest ever recorded in televised darts in a 2016 Premier League match, at one point charting as high as 137. Van Gerwen is currently the second most successful player in PDC history, behind Phil Taylor.

Early life

Van Gerwen played football as a defender until he was 12 and began playing darts regularly at 13. He reached the final of the Primus Masters Youth event at the age of just 14 in 2003. He then started to amass youth titles in 2005 including the German Open, German Gold Cup, Norway Open, Northern Ireland Open, Swedish Open and the Dutch National Youth Championship which he also defended in 2006. He also won the Men's events in the Norway and Northern Ireland Opens in the same year that he took the youth titles. Before he became a professional darts player, he worked as a tiler.

BDO career

He picked up several Open titles and rose up the BDO/WDF World Rankings having climbed as high as third, even before he reached his 18th birthday. He reached the semi-finals of the Bavaria World Darts Trophy in 2006. Despite losing to Martin Adams, the Dutch youngster came within one dart of the perfect nine dart finish, just missing double twelve. He did manage the highest possible checkout of 170 during the tournament.

He managed to eclipse that performance at the 2006 Winmau World Masters by becoming the youngest ever champion. Having trailed 1–4 and 2–5 to Adams, he came back to win the title and take Eric Bristow's record as the youngest ever winner at the age of 17 years and 174 days.

His early career success led to inevitable speculation that he may join the other professional circuit of darts, the Professional Darts Corporation. However, during the 2006 World Darts Trophy, van Gerwen held a press conference to make it clear that he wanted to stay with the BDO/WDF. He also finished top of the DDF (Dutch Darts Federation) Rankings – which would have secured him a place at the PDC World Championship if he chose to accept. He had already committed to playing at Lakeside, so the place went to Rico Vonck who finished second in the rankings.

Van Gerwen was the bookmakers pre-tournament favourite to win the 2007 Lakeside World title, but his hopes were ended in the first round by Gary Robson. On the night of the 2007 BDO World Championship Final, it was announced on Dutch television that van Gerwen, along with Jelle Klaasen and Vincent van der Voort, would be switching to the Professional Darts Corporation.

PDC career

2007–2011

Van Gerwen started at 88 in the PDC World Rankings. Although he was a BDO player he was eligible for certain PDC events in his home country even before he switched to the PDC. This included the Open Holland in 2006, in which he took the title. He made his PDC debut on 20 January at the non-televised Stan James Players Championships in Gibraltar and beat Andy Hamilton before losing in the last 16 to fellow countryman Roland Scholten. In the second Players Championship the following day, he beat Raymond van Barneveld in the early rounds only to lose to Alan Warriner-Little in the quarter-finals. He followed up his victory over van Barneveld by beating 13 times World Champion Phil Taylor by 3 sets to 0 on the opening night of the Masters of Darts tournament. All three sets went to a deciding leg which van Gerwen clinched with 14, 12 and 12 darts. He went on to reach the semi-final of the tournament and achieved a perfect nine dart finish against van Barneveld, but lost the match.

His televised PDC debut came at the 2007 UK Open, where he lost in the last 32 to Colin Osborne. He failed to qualify for the 2007 Las Vegas Desert Classic and was defeated in round two of the World Matchplay in Blackpool by Ronnie Baxter 12–14, having been one leg from victory at 12–10. His first PDC World Championship saw him paired with Phil Taylor in 2008's first round; notably he had one dart at double 12 to win the match and knock out the 13 time world champion. It would have ended Taylor's phenomenal record of reaching every PDC World Championship Final. Wayne Mardle did end Taylor's run in that year's quarter-finals.

Van Gerwen ended his long wait for a tournament victory by beating his Dutch compatriot Vincent van der Voort 6–3 in the final of the Players Championship in Taunton on 11 April 2009 and earned him £6,000 towards the Order of Merit. Van Gerwen was defeated 6–4 by Arron Monk in the final of the inaugural PDC Under-21 World Championship during the 2011 PDC World Championship.

2012

He made it to the last 16 of the PDC World Championship for the first time in the 2012 edition by beating Colin Osborne and Mervyn King. Van Gerwen lost nine out of the first ten legs in his last 16 game to trail 0–3 to Simon Whitlock, but produced an incredible comeback to level the match at 3–3. He couldn't maintain his form, however, as he lost all three legs in the deciding set to exit the tournament 3–4.

Van Gerwen was named Young Player of the Year at the PDC annual awards ceremony on 3 January 2012, for winning four PDC Unicorn Youth Tour events during 2011 and his World Championship run.

In 2012, he won the second UK Open qualifier of the season, defeating Dave Chisnall in the final 6–1. In the UK Open itself he lost in the last 16 to Terry Jenkins. Van Gerwen won the eighth Players Championship event in June after beating Simon Whitlock 6–1 in the final. At the World Matchplay he won 5 legs in a row to record a 10–6 victory over Simon Whitlock in the first round, and then faced a last 16 encounter with Steve Beaton, which he won 13–9 while throwing the fourth nine-dart finish in the tournament's history in the tenth leg. Van Gerwen was 5–11 down in his quarter-final against James Wade, but produced a fightback to only trail 11–12 and then missed one dart to level the game. He went on to lose 13–16.

Van Gerwen's third title of the year came at the 11th Players Championship, where he defeated Ian White 6–1 in the final with a 107.85 average. Van Gerwen was involved in an exceptional match in the last 16 of the European Championship as he was defeated by compatriot Raymond van Barneveld 9–10, despite averaging 104. Another Players Championship success followed with a 6–5 victory over Robert Thornton.

In October 2012, van Gerwen won his first PDC major title at the World Grand Prix. He came from behind to knock out Colin Lloyd 2–1 in the first round, and then beat an out of sorts Adrian Lewis 3–1 in the second. In the quarter-final against Andy Hamilton, he missed four darts to win 3–1, only for Hamilton to take out a 160 finish to force a decider. Van Gerwen maintained his composure and took the final set 3–2 and then heavily out-scored Wes Newton in the semi-finals in a 5–1 win. He played Mervyn King in the final, defeating him 6–4, after being 0–3 and 1–4 down. Van Gerwen afterwards described the win as the best day in his life and in claiming the £100,000 prize he rose to world number eight, overtaking Raymond van Barneveld as the highest placed Dutchman. He did not have to wait long for his sixth title of the year, as he won the following week's Players Championship averaging 113 against Jamie Caven in the semi-finals, before beating Nick Fullwell 6–3 in the final.

In a Championship League game, van Gerwen averaged an incredible 121.86 whilst defeating Steve Beaton 6–0. He won six of his seven league matches to finish top of the table, but then lost 5–6 to the same opponent in the semi-finals. He soon returned to winning ways by taking another Players Championship title, coming back from 0–4 in the final against Ian White to triumph 6–5.

Van Gerwen won all three of his group games at the Grand Slam of Darts to top Group B and face Phil Taylor in the last 16, in a match billed as a clash between the current best two players in the world. There, van Gerwen ended a five-year, 15 game losing streak against Taylor to defeat him 10–5 with a 108.38 average in a performance he described as the best of his career. He played Scott Waites in the quarter-finals, who himself had already beaten Taylor in the tournament, and produced another superb display as he hit two 170 finishes and an average of 106.63 in a 16–12 win. He averaged over 100 once more to defeat Dean Winstanley 16–8 in the semi-finals, to set up a clash in the final against compatriot and five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld. Van Gerwen was never ahead in the final and couldn't quite match the heavy scoring and clinical finishing he had produced earlier in the tournament as he was beaten 14–16.

His eighth tournament win of 2012 came at the 20th and final Players Championship, where he beat Taylor for the first time in a final and also beat reigning world champion Adrian Lewis in the semi-finals. He was 4–5 down to Taylor, but produced back-to-back finishes of 164 and 124 to win and in doing so finished third on the ProTour Order of Merit to qualify for the Finals. Van Gerwen went out of the Finals in the second round 8–10 to Andy Hamilton despite winning the first four legs of the match.

2013

After his exceptional year in 2012, van Gerwen entered the 2013 World Championship as the second favourite behind Phil Taylor. He saw off Paul Lim 3–0 in the first round to play Peter Wright in the second round, who described van Gerwen as "not good enough" before the match. Van Gerwen was 0–2 down but stormed back by winning 12 of the next 14 legs to advance with a 4–2 win and then beat Colin Lloyd 4–1 in the third round to face reigning two-time world champion Adrian Lewis in the quarter-finals. The match was a classic as both players averaged over 100, with Lewis coming back from a set down four times to level the match at 4–4. In the deciding set Lewis missed two darts at double top for the match, as van Gerwen stepped in to finish 83, 108 and double four in successive legs to seal the win and progress to the semi-final. At 3–1 up in his semi-final match against James Wade, van Gerwen hit a nine-dart finish. He almost repeated the feat in the very next leg, after hitting eight perfect darts before missing one dart at double 12 that would have seen him become the first player ever to hit back-to-back perfect legs. However, he lost the set and the next as Wade leveled the match, but van Gerwen's superior scoring power eventually told as he won the match 6–4. In his first World Championship final he played fifteen-time winner Phil Taylor and led 2–0 and 4–2, but crucially missed two darts to lead 5–2. Taylor then rallied to win five successive sets to take the title 7–4. Van Gerwen's run in the tournament saw him climb to number four on the Order of Merit, which guaranteed his place in the Premier League for the first time.

At the PDC awards dinner in January 2013, van Gerwen won three awards; Young Player of the Year, PDPA Player of the Year and Fans’ Player of the Year. In his first World Cup of Darts he partnered Raymond van Barneveld and the Dutch pair suffered a shock in the last 16 when they were beaten 3–5 by the Finnish duo of Jani Haavisto and Jarkko Komula. Van Gerwen won his first tournament of 2013 at the first UK Open Qualifier of the year with a 6–2 victory over Dave Chisnall in the final. He completed a weekend double a day later by defeating Brendan Dolan also by a 6–2 scoreline in the second Qualifier. The win saw van Gerwen replace Wade as the world number three. His run continued by taking the third event with a 6–2 win against Michael Smith. Van Gerwen's first defeat on the 2013 Pro Tour came a day later when Robert Thornton beat him 4–6 in the semi-finals of the fourth Qualifier. His unbeaten run stood at 29 matches until this defeat. Despite losing in the semi-finals of the European Darts Trophy to Paul Nicholson in April, van Gerwen replaced Adrian Lewis as the world number two. He reached another final at the fifth UK Open Qualifier, beating Phil Taylor 6–2 along the way, but lost 1–6 to Simon Whitlock. Van Gerwen bounced back a day later to win the sixth event which included a 112.67 average in a 6–1 win over Michael Smith in the semi-finals and a 6–5 defeat of Kim Huybrechts in the final. He also won the final event with a 6–0 ten minute thrashing of Mervyn King in the final, meaning he had won five of the eight Qualifiers. His sixth title of the year came a week later at the second Players Championship by beating Stuart Kellett 6–1 in the final.

In the 2013 Premier League, van Gerwen became the first player other than Phil Taylor to finish top of the league after Taylor had done it in all eight previous stagings of the event. He won 11, drew two and lost three of his 16 games, averaging over 100 in nine of them. He beat James Wade 8–4 in the semi finals to face Taylor in the final. Van Gerwen was 2–5 down but then won five unanswered legs before Taylor stopped the rot by taking out a finish of 65. In the next leg, van Gerwen declined a dart at the bull when on a finish of 87 to set up 32, but Taylor stepped in to finish 160 to level the match at 7–7. However, van Gerwen began the 15th leg with a 180 and won two consecutive legs to move within one game of the title. He missed two darts at double eight to win 10–7, but with Taylor leaving 40 after 12 darts in the next, van Gerwen finished 132 on the bull to become only the fourth player to win the Premier League.

Van Gerwen's play continued as he won the European Darts Open in Düsseldorf, Germany, saving his best performance for the final where he beat Simon Whitlock 6–2 with an average of 106.68. Another title followed less than a week later as he won the non-ranking Dubai Darts Masters, taking out finishes of 170 and 164 during an 11–7 triumph over Raymond van Barneveld in the final. His 10th tournament win came in June at the Austrian Darts Open by beating Mervyn King 6–3 in the final. It was van Gerwen's fifth title in a row and he was on a run of 24 unbeaten games. He was the number one seed for the UK Open having earned £35,600 in the eight qualifying events, just over £25,000 ahead of Robert Thornton in second place. Van Gerwen stretched his unbeaten streak to 27 games before he met Taylor in the quarter-finals. Van Gerwen did not quite produce his best game as he was beaten 7–10. Two weeks later he won the sixth Players Championship by defeating Andy Hamilton 6–1 in the final. At the Gibraltar Darts Trophy his unbeaten run of 15 matches in European Tour events was ended as he lost to Adrian Lewis 5–6 in the quarter-finals.

At the European Championship, van Gerwen beat Mervyn King and Jelle Klaasen both with 104 averages, but was defeated 8–11 by Lewis in the semi-finals. Lewis was also the victor when the two met at the same stage of the World Matchplay, beating van Gerwen 17–15. Van Gerwen overcame Lewis in the semi-finals of the Sydney Darts Masters 10–7, but was then defeated 10–3 in the final by Taylor. In the defence of his World Grand Prix title, van Gerwen swept past John Part 2–0 and van Barneveld 3–0 in 21 minutes to play Dave Chisnall in the quarter-finals. Van Gerwen came from 2–0 down to level the match but Chisnall halted his momentum by winning the final set by three legs to one. He qualified from Group 5 of the Championship League having lost in the final of two previous groups which included a nine-dart finish in a 6–5 loss to Terry Jenkins in Group 4.

In the Winners Group, van Gerwen was the only player to beat Taylor and he finished second in the table by winning five of his seven games. In the semi-finals he saw off Richie Burnett 6–2 to face Taylor in the final. Van Gerwen fell 5–0 down before winning three successive legs but had left himself too much to do and lost 6–3. He finished the year as the top seed for the Players Championship Finals having amassed £125,350 during the year in ProTour events, over £50,000 ahead of Chisnall in second place. He produced two superb comebacks in the event, the first coming in the second round when he took six legs in a row to see off Lewis 9–6. He produced the second in the final as from 6–3 down he hit a seven leg burst against Taylor and secured his second major title of the year with an 11–7 victory.

2014

In the 2014 World Championship, van Gerwen began with victories over qualifier Zoran Lerchbacher and Kevin McDine. He trailed Gary Anderson 3–1 in the third round, but came back to win 4–3. He then faced former BDO World Champion Mark Webster, whom he beat 5–3, to set up a semi-final meeting against Adrian Lewis.

Van Gerwen won with a 6–0 whitewash and an average of 103.02, having punished Lewis for a multitude of missed doubles during the match. In his second successive World Championship final, he faced Peter Wright and stormed into a 4–0 lead, before Wright took the next two sets. Van Gerwen made it 6–2, needing one set to win but his scoring and finishing then faltered, as Wright took the next two sets to make it 6–4. Van Gerwen took advantage of two missed darts from Wright in the deciding leg of the next set to win 7–4. He became the sixth different winner of the event and, at the age of 24, the youngest as well as jumping above Phil Taylor to become the new world number one. Later in the month he won the ProTour Player of the Year, Fans' Player of the Year and PDC Player of the Year at the Annual Awards.

On the opening night of the Premier League, van Gerwen registered the first ever whitewash over Taylor in the tournament's history, 7–0 in 13 minutes with an average of 109.59. He enjoyed a title success in his home country at the Dutch Darts Masters by beating Mervyn King in a high quality final where both players averaged over 107. A week later, van Gerwen won the final UK Open Qualifier with a 6–0 whitewash over Michael Smith. At the UK Open he was beaten 10–8 in the semi-finals by Terry Jenkins. Van Gerwen won his 20th title on the PDC tour in claiming the second Players Championship by beating Dean Winstanley 6–1. In April, Taylor won their reverse fixture in the Premier League 7–4 and was also the victor when the two met in the final of the German Darts Masters. He finished top of the Premier League table for the second year in a row, winning 11 of his 16 games, and then edged past Gary Anderson 8–7 in the semi-finals. From 5–5 in the final, Raymond van Barneveld took four successive legs and ended van Gerwen's Premier League reign with a 10–6 win. He defended his Dubai Duty Free Darts Masters title by seeing off Wright 11–7.

At the World Cup of Darts, van Gerwen and van Barneveld produced a sensational 117.88 average in their doubles decider against Northern Ireland to whitewash them 4–0 and meet England's Taylor and Lewis in the final. Van Gerwen defeated Taylor 4–0 and van Barneveld recorded the same scoreline against Lewis. He went into his singles match versus Lewis knowing a win would earn the Dutch pair the title and he did so with a 4–2 success.

Van Gerwen played in his first World Matchplay final this year but couldn't match Taylor's fast start to the match as he trailed 7–1 and 13–2 and, despite a rally to pull back to 14–8, he was beaten 18–9. The loss left van Gerwen in tears on the stage afterwards. He returned to claim the inaugural Singapore Darts Masters with an 11–8 victory over Simon Whitlock. A week later he averaged an incredible 118.21 in beating Paul Nicholson 8–3 in the quarter-finals of the Perth Darts Masters and went on to reach the final where Taylor beat him 11–9. Van Gerwen also won the 14th Players Championship with a 6–4 victory over Michael Smith. A week later they contested the final of the European Darts Trophy, with van Gerwen losing 6–5, having been 3–0 ahead. He lost in a deciding leg once more at the 15th Players Championship, to Justin Pipe.

His second major title of the year came at the World Grand Prix as he edged a close final against James Wade 5–3 in sets. Seven days later he beat Wade once more this time 6–2 in the final of the 18th Players Championship. He averaged 111 in eliminating Dave Chisnall 10–5 in the quarter-finals of the European Championship and then threw his fourth career televised nine darter during an 11–6 semi-final victory over van Barneveld. Van Gerwen took the first five legs in the final against Terry Jenkins and never looked back as he sealed his sixth PDC major title 11–4. He was knocked out of the quarter-finals at the Grand Slam 16–10 by Kim Huybrechts and in the second round of the Players Championship Finals 10–7 by Terry Jenkins.

2015

Nobody got close to van Gerwen as he progressed to the semi-finals of the 2015 World Championship, which included his then highest World Championship average of 105.26 in beating Robert Thornton in the quarters. He played Gary Anderson in the event for the second year in a row and once again trailed 3–1 before levelling at 3–3. However, he missed four darts to take the next set and instead saw his reign as world champion come to end with a 6–3 loss. Van Gerwen won the Masters by beating van Barneveld 11–6 in the final with an average of 112.49. He lost in the final of the first UK Open Qualifier 6–1 to Adrian Lewis, but atoned for this a day later by winning the second event by beating Vincent van der Voort 6–3. Van Gerwen also took the third event with a 6–1 triumph over James Wade which meant he had won 25 of 26 matches since the World Championship. He extended this to 30 out of 31 games when he won the German Darts Championship by defeating Anderson 6–2 in the final with an exceptional average of 117.94. Jelle Klaasen missed a total of ten match darts in the final of the fourth UK Open Qualifier to allow van Gerwen to win 6–5. A 31 consecutive game winning streak was ended by Terry Jenkins the next day.

In the UK Open fifth round, van Gerwen set his highest televised average of 114.91 during a 9–2 victory over Kim Huybrechts in which he had a 170 finish and missed one dart for a nine darter in the final leg. He went on to win his first UK Open title with an 11–5 victory over Peter Wright in the final. He won his second European Tour event in a row at the Gibraltar Darts Trophy with a 6–3 success over Terry Jenkins and made it a trio of titles by seeing off John Henderson 6–5 at the German Darts Masters. He reset his highest televised average record to 116.90 in a 7–0 whitewash of James Wade in the Premier League. Van Gerwen continued to dominate the PDC circuit by claiming the fourth and sixth Players Championship events with 6–1 and 6–5 wins over Lewis and Wade respectively. A 6–6 draw with Dave Chisnall ensured he would finish top of the Premier League for the third year in a row. He averaged 105.15 during the 172 legs he played during the league phase. Van Gerwen won five legs in a row from 7–4 down to van Barneveld in the semi-finals which helped him win 10–8. He could only take out 32% of his doubles in the final against Anderson, including missing seven in one leg, which contributed to him losing 11–7. Van Gerwen maintained his unbeaten record in the Dubai Darts Masters as he took his third title in a row by recovering from 8–6 down in the final against Taylor to triumph 11–8. He stretched his unbeaten run to 20 matches in European Tour events as he claimed the Dutch Darts Masters by whitewashing Justin Pipe 6–0. Van Gerwen and van Barneveld were knocked out in the semi-finals of the World Cup in a doubles match against Scotland's Anderson and Wright.

Van Gerwen won his first World Matchplay title by beating James Wade 18–12. It saw him overtake Wade as the PDC's second most successful player with nine major tournament wins, but still a long way behind Taylor who leads with 79. Michael Smith defeated van Gerwen 6–2 in the final of the European Darts Trophy, but he took the European Darts Matchplay seven days later with a 6–4 success over Chisnall in the final. Van Gerwen hit 18 180s in the final of the World Grand Prix against Robert Thornton, but ultimately missed too many doubles to be edged out 5–4 in sets. He looked set to lose a second successive major final when he trailed Gary Anderson 10–7 at the European Championship, but won the next four legs without allowing the Scot a dart for the match to win 11–10. It marked the first time van Gerwen had retained a major title.

Van Gerwen was untroubled in reaching the final of the Grand Slam which included a 16–4 victory over Kim Huybrechts in the quarter-finals whilst averaging 111.05. In the final he was 3–0 and 7–3 behind Taylor, but won six unanswered legs and went on to take the tournament with a 16–13 win. The title completed van Gerwen's set of winning all of the PDC's current majors during his career. In the final of the World Series of Darts Finals Van Gerwen came from 10–9 down to defeat Wright 11–10 with a 129 checkout and an 11 dart leg. He took his fourth televised title in a row at the Players Championship Finals with an 11–6 win over Adrian Lewis. It also ensured he had featured in every televised final since the World Championship at the start of the year.

2016

After needing a tie-break to beat René Eidams in the first round of the 2016 World Championship, van Gerwen recorded 109.23, the fourth highest average ever recorded in the event during a 4–0 whitewash over Darren Webster. In the third round, he took out a 135 finish to send his tie with van Barneveld to a deciding set. Van Barneveld went 2–0 up in legs, before Van Gerwen threw a 10 dart leg, but he missed one dart to level the game in the next leg allowing his Dutch rival to finish on 96 to knock him out. Van Gerwen's average of 105.78 is the highest ever to lose a match in the history of the event. Phil Taylor missed seven match darts in the semi-finals of the Masters and van Gerwen took full advantage to eliminate him 11–10 and retained his title by easing past Dave Chisnall 11–6. In week four of the Premier League, van Gerwen broke the televised average record with 123.40 in a 7–1 win over Michael Smith. He had missed three darts to seal a 7–0 win which would have seen him average over 130. In the following round of fixtures he averaged 116.67 in beating Peter Wright 7–2. A 7–5 win over Phil Taylor saw van Gerwen top the final Premier League table for the fourth year in a row. He won his second Premier League title (his first being in 2013) with an 11–3 victory over Taylor in what was van Gerwen's fourth consecutive Premier League final. Taylor had led 2–1 but van Gerwen soon took control of proceedings and won ten of the following eleven legs to complete a resounding win.

Van Gerwen had won three of the six UK Open Qualifiers and in the fourth round of the main event he produced his fifth televised nine-dart finish whilst defeating Rob Cross 9–5. He also hit 170 finishes in the leg before and after the perfect leg. He recovered from 4–1 down to Taylor in the semi-finals to win 10–6 and, in a repeat of last year's final, bested Wright 11–4 to retain his title. Van Gerwen won his second consecutive World Matchplay title with a comfortable 18–10 win over Phil Taylor. It was 15-time winner Taylor's first defeat in a World Matchplay final and only his eight defeat in the tournament since 1994.

Playing style

Van Gerwen throws at a very fast pace and scores extremely heavily meaning he is able to build up momentum over his opponents in a matter of seconds. His weakness on occasion can be missing doubles, but his power scoring usually gives him ample time to afford this. When he does make a mistake he is usually able to confine it to history and refocus on the next leg. His playing style is instinctive and natural. He is known to hit purple patches during matches, where he can instantly elevate his game to exceptionally high levels. He did so in winning the first three PDC major titles of his career, firstly in the 2012 Grand Prix final he came back from 1–4 down in sets to triumph 6–4 and in the 2013 Premier League final he came from 2–5 down to win five successive legs and eventually won 10–8. Thirdly, he won seven consecutive legs against Phil Taylor in claiming the 2013 Players Championship Finals title.

He is also capable of taking out big checkouts to win matches when his opponent is well placed. The most striking examples of his ability to date include setting a televised average world record of 123.40 in the 2016 Premier League in a 7–1 victory over Michael Smith. Having started with four 11 dart legs or better in the first six legs, he missed double 18 three times for an average of over 130 which would have earned a shutout win had he found the double. He was also a double 12 away from hitting back-to-back nine dart finishes in the 2013 World Championship semi-finals.

Five-time World Champion Eric Bristow has described him as fearless, and van Gerwen has said he is not scared of any player.

He celebrates important visits to the board with sudden short-range headbutts and a bouncing double fist-pump. Such exuberant celebrations have created negative reactions among some of his fellow players, with 2004 World Masters winner Mervyn King calling it disrespectful. It has been suggested that consistency could be the only thing that will stop van Gerwen from dominating the sport for years to come.

Personal life

In August 2014, van Gerwen married his longtime girlfriend, Daphne Govers.

Outside of darts

In December 2014, Sky Sports televised a one-hour documentary called "Mighty Mike" which charted his rise in darts as well as his life away from the sport. He is a supporter of the Dutch football club PSV Eindhoven.

World Championship results

BDO

PDC

Career finals

BDO major finals: 1 (1 title)

OutcomeNo.YearChampionshipOpponent in the finalScoreRef.
Winner1.2006Winmau World MastersEngland Martin Adams7–5 (s)

PDC major finals: 23 (16 titles, 7 runners-up)

Legend
World Championship (1–1)
World Matchplay (2–1)
World Grand Prix (2–1)
Grand Slam (1–1)
Premier League (2–2)
UK Open (2–0)
Other (6–1)
OutcomeNo.YearChampionshipOpponent in the finalScoreRef.
Winner1.2012World Grand PrixEngland Mervyn King6–4 (s)
Runner-up1.2012Grand Slam of DartsNetherlands Raymond van Barneveld14–16 (l)
Runner-up2.2013World Darts ChampionshipEngland Phil Taylor4–7 (s)
Winner2.2013Premier League DartsEngland Phil Taylor10–8 (l)
Runner-up3.2013Championship League DartsEngland Phil Taylor3–6 (l)
Winner3.2013Players Championship FinalsEngland Phil Taylor11–7 (l)
Winner4.2014World Darts ChampionshipScotland Peter Wright7–4 (s)
Runner-up4.2014Premier League DartsNetherlands Raymond van Barneveld6–10 (l)
Runner-up5.2014World MatchplayEngland Phil Taylor9–18 (l)
Winner5.2014World Grand PrixEngland James Wade5–3 (s)
Winner6.2014European ChampionshipEngland Terry Jenkins11–4 (l)
Winner7.2015The MastersNetherlands Raymond van Barneveld11–6 (l)
Winner8.2015UK OpenScotland Peter Wright11–5 (l)
Runner-up6.2015Premier League DartsScotland Gary Anderson7–11 (l)
Winner9.2015World MatchplayEngland James Wade18–12 (l)
Runner-up7.2015World Grand PrixScotland Robert Thornton4–5 (s)
Winner10.2015European ChampionshipScotland Gary Anderson11–10 (l)
Winner11.2015Grand Slam of DartsEngland Phil Taylor16–13 (l)
Winner12.2015Players Championship FinalsEngland Adrian Lewis11–6 (l)
Winner13.2016The MastersEngland Dave Chisnall11–6 (l)
Winner14.2016UK OpenScotland Peter Wright11–4 (l)
Winner15.2016Premier League DartsEngland Phil Taylor11–3 (l)
Winner16.2016World MatchplayEngland Phil Taylor18–10 (l)

PDC TV finals: 12 (7 titles, 5 runner-up)

Legend
World Series of Darts (7-5)
OutcomeNo.YearChampionshipOpponent in the finalScore
Winner1.2013Dubai Darts MastersNetherlands Raymond van Barneveld11-7 (l)
Runner-up1.2013Sydney Darts MastersEngland Phil Taylor3-10 (l)
Winner2.2014Dubai Darts MastersScotland Peter Wright11-7 (l)
Runner-up2.2014Perth Darts MastersEngland Phil Taylor9-11 (l)
Winner3.2014Singapore Darts MastersAustralia Simon Whitlock11-8 (l)
Winner4.2015Dubai Darts MastersEngland Phil Taylor11-8 (l)
Winner5.2015World Series of Darts FinalsScotland Peter Wright11-10 (l)
Runner-up3.2016Dubai Darts MastersScotland Gary Anderson9-11 (l)
Winner6.2016Shanghai Darts MastersEngland James Wade8-3 (l)
Runner-up4.2016Tokyo Darts MastersScotland Gary Anderson6-8 (l)
Runner-up5.2016Sydney Darts MastersEngland Phil Taylor9-11 (l)
Winner7.2016Perth Darts MastersEngland Dave Chisnall11-4 (l)

PDC team finals: 2 (1 title, 1 runner-up)

OutcomeNo.YearChampionshipCountryTeammateOpponents in the finalScore
Winner1.2014World Cup of Darts NetherlandsRaymond van Barneveld England (Phil Taylor and Adrian Lewis)3–0 (s)
Runner-up1.2016World Cup of Darts NetherlandsRaymond van Barneveld England (Phil Taylor and Adrian Lewis)2–3 (s)
  1. (l) = score in legs, (s) = score in sets.

Performance timeline

Tournament200520062007200820092010201120122013201420152016
PDC World ChampionshipNon-PDC1R2R2R1R3RRUWSF3R
The MastersNot heldQFSFWW
UK OpenDNP5R3R3R3R4R5RQFSFWW
Premier League DartsDid not playWRURUW
World MatchplayNon-PDC2R2R1RDNQQFSFRUWW
World Grand PrixNon-PDCDNQ1RDNQWQFWRU
European ChampionshipNot heldDNQ2R2R1R2RSFWW
Grand Slam of DartsNot heldRRRRDNQRR2RRU2RQFW
Players Championship FinalsNot held1R2RDNP1R2RW2RW
Championship LeagueNot heldDNQRRRRDNQRRRUNot held
US OpenNot held4R3RDNPNot held
BDO World ChampionshipDNP1RNot BDO member
World Masters2RWNot BDO member
International Darts LeagueDNPQFRRNot held
World Darts TrophyDNPSF3RNot held
Masters of DartsDNPNHSFNot held
Performance timeline legend
DNPDid not play in the event#Rlost in the early rounds of the tournament
(RR = Round robin)
QFlost in the quarter-finals
SFlost in the semi-finalsRUlost in the finalWwon the tournament

Nine-dart finishes

Van Gerwen is the youngest player ever at 17 years and 298 days to throw a televised nine-darter.

Michael van Gerwen televised nine-dart finishes
DateOpponentTournamentMethodPrize
17 February 2007Netherlands Raymond van BarneveldMasters of DartsT20, 2 x T19; 3 x T20; T20, T17, D18€10,000
25 July 2012England Steve BeatonWorld Matchplay3 x T20; 3 x T20; T20, T19, D12£2,500
30 December 2012England James WadePDC World Darts Championship3 x T20; 2 x T20, T19; 2 x T20, D12£7,500
26 October 2014Netherlands Raymond van BarneveldEuropean Championship2 x T20, T19; 3 x T20; 2 x T20, D12£5,000
5 March 2016England Rob CrossUK Open3 x T20; 3 x T20; T20, T19, D12£10,000

High averages

Michael van Gerwen holds the world record with a televised average of 123.40 thrown in the 2016 Premier League against Michael Smith.

Michael van Gerwen televised high averages
NumberAverageDateOpponentTournamentStageScore
1123.40 (WR)25 February 2016Michael SmithPremier League DartsLeague7-1 (L)
2121.8631 October 2012Steve BeatonChampionship League DartsGroup (8)6-0 (L)
3118.2123 August 2014Paul NicholsonPerth Darts MastersQuarter-Final8-3 (L)
4117.957 April 2016Robert ThorntonPremier League DartsLeague7-5 (L)
5117.9415 February 2015Gary AndersonGerman Darts ChampionshipFinal6-2 (L)
6116.9023 April 2015James WadePremier League DartsLeague7-0 (L)
7116.673 March 2016Peter WrightPremier League DartsLeague7-2 (L)
8114.917 March 2015Kim HuybrechtsUK OpenFifth round9-2 (L)
9114.707 June 2015Dave ChisnallDutch Darts MastersThird round6-3 (L)
10114.0020 September 2015Rowby-John RodriguezEuropean Darts MatchplayQuarter-Final6-3 (L)