PDC World Championship draw: Michael van Gerwen faces Cullen

Michael van Gerwen
Michael van Gerwen starts the defence of his PDC world title against Joe Cullen
2015 PDC World Championship
Venue: Alexandra Palace Date: 18 December 2014 - 4 January 2015

World number one Michael van Gerwen will start the defence of his PDC World Championship title against Joe Cullen.

The Dutchman, 25, beat Peter Wright 7-4 to win a first world title in January.

Suffolk-based Wright will face Welshman Gerwyn Price, while 16-times world champion Phil Taylor will play Jyhan Artut of Germany.

A field of 72 players will compete for a £250,000 first prize at the Alexandra Palace in London, with the final taking place on Sunday, 4 January.

Since darts split into two governing bodies in 1993, the Professional Darts Corporation and the British Darts Organisation have staged their own versions of the World Championship.

Bunting wins first BDO darts title

Stephen Bunting, who won the BDO title at Lakeside in January before switching to the PDC, will play the winner of the preliminary-round match between Jermaine Wattimena and Robert Marijanovic on his debut at the Alexandra Palace.

The 29-year-old from St Helens, the 27th seed, is aiming to become the first player to hold both world titles at the same time.

Elsewhere, Players Championship winner Gary Anderson has been drawn against Mark McGrath or Scott Kirchner, while Adrian Lewis - world champion in 2011 and 2012 - will play Shropshire debutant David Pallett in the first round.

Speaking after being drawn against Bradford-born Cullen, Van Gerwen told Sky Sports: "Joe is a fantastic player. He's been on the circuit for a long time and he's a talented player. He's a quick player and I like playing him.

"It takes a lot of work (to win the World Championship). I need to make sure I'm prepared.

"You can't afford any mistakes. You can't let yourself down. This is the World Championship and you need to play well."

First-round draw (seedings in brackets): Kim Huybrechts (18) v Mickey Mansell, Dave Chisnall (8) v Ryan de Vreede, Raymond van Barneveld (14) v Rowby-John Rodriguez, Dean Winstanley (26) v Wayne Jones, Mark Webster (31) v Ron Meulenkamp, John Part (30) v Keegan Brown, Paul Nicholson (25) v Benito van de Pas, Jamie Caven (19) v Jason Hogg, Andy Smith (28) v Ronny Huybrechts, Jelle Klaasen (29) v Christian Kist, Andy Hamilton (12) v Dave Richardson, Adrian Lewis (3) v David Pallett, Gary Anderson (4) v Mark McGrath or Scott Kirchner, Terry Jenkins (16) v John Weber, Vincent van der Voort (23) v John Henderson, Robert Thornton (9) v Andrew Gilding, Simon Whitlock (7) v Darren Webster, Peter Wright (5) v Gerwyn Price, James Wade (6) v Jamie Lewis, Justin Pipe (17) v Lawrence Ryder, Steve Beaton (21) v Kyle Anderson, Stuart Kellett (32) v Kim Viljanen or Sascha Stein, Michael Smith (22) v Mensur Suljovic, Brendan Dolan (11) v Nolan Arendse or Alex Hon, Stephen Bunting (27) v Jermaine Wattimena or Robert Marijanovic, Phil Taylor (2) v Jyhan Artut, Mervyn King (10) v Max Hopp, Wes Newton (13) v Christian Perez or Cristo Reyes, Michael van Gerwen (1) v Joe Cullen, Ronnie Baxter (24) v Scott Mackenzie or Daryl Gurney, Ian White (15) v Jani Haavisto or John Michael, Kevin Painter (20) v Boris Koltsov or Haruki Muramatsu.

Michael van Gerwen and Peter Wright
Peter Wright, beaten by Michael van Gerwen in last year's final, faces Gerwyn Price in round one

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