By G9ija

The first major tournament of the PDC season gets underway on Friday as the top 16 players in the world head to the Masters.

The Masters is a non-ranking event but with £60,000 on offer for the winner and serious momentum heading into the Premier League and Pro Tour events, it is a huge opportunity for those involved.

Michael van Gerwen goes into the tournament as the defending champion having won the Masters in each of the last four years.

It will take a monumental effort for anyone to beat the world number one in MK and snatch the title away that he has made his own since 2015. It may be even harder for anyone to knock MVG off his perch now Gary Anderson has been forced to withdraw through a back injury.

The tournament runs from Friday 1 – Sunday 3 February with evening sessions on Friday and Saturday starting at 7pm. On the Sunday the quarter-finals are played from 1pm then the semis and final from 7pm.

Masters draw

(1) Michael van Gerwen v (16) Jonny Clayton

(8) Mensur Suljovic v (9) Simon Whitlock

(5) Daryl Gurney v (12) Dave Chisnall

(Alt) Stephen Bunting v (13) Darren Webster

(2) Rob Cross v (15) Joe Cullen

(7) Gerwyn Price v (10) James Wade

(6) Michael Smith v (11) Ian White

(3) Peter Wright v (14) Adrian Lewis

Masters prize money

Winner –£60,000

Runnerup- £25,000

SFs –£17,500

QFs –£10,000

First round- £5,000

Previous winners of the Masters

2018 – Michael van Gerwen

2017 – Michael van Gerwen

2016 – Michael van Gerwen

2015 – Michael van Gerwen

2014 – James Wade

2013 – Phil Taylor