Fleetwood’s Wes Newton will play his World Championship revenge match against Cristo Reyes on December 22 at Alexandra Palace, with world number seven James Wade possibly awaiting the winner in the second round.
Newton fell victim to one of last year’s biggest shocks in the Professional Darts Corporation’s London showpiece, losing to Spaniard Reyes in the first round – and the pair have been drawn together at the same stage this year.
The Fylde favourite has since dropped to 26th in the PDC rankings but will have every motiviation to rediscover his finest form on the Tuesday before Christmas, when his rematch against Reyes will be the second match of the evening session.
The winner will return on Sunday 27 for the second round, when three-time semi-finalist Wade may well lie in wait. He plays his first round match on Monday 21 against the winner of that evening’s preliminary round contest between Warrick Scheffer and John Michael.
The first-round action in the £1.5m Sky-televised tournament is spread over seven days, with 38-year-old Newton not in action until the sixth.
The opening night, Thursday 17, will see reigning champion Gary Anderson kick-off the event against either Andy Boulton or Per Laursen.
A bumper opening night also sees world number four Peter Wright, the 2014 runner-up, taking on former World Youth Champion Keegan Brown.
World number one Michael van Gerwen and 16-time world champion Phil Taylor will both begin their campaigns against preliminary round winners on December 18 and 19 respectively.
The third round takes place on December 29-30, the quarter-finals on New Year’s Day, the semis on January 2 and final on the third.