World champion Peter Wright intends to “pull his finger out” and win the Premier League for the first time.
The 2022 edition of the weekly tournament kicks-off in Cardiff on Thursday, with a new format where players will contest 17 individual competitions comprising of a quarter-finals, semi-finals and final, rather than a round-robin league.
Wright begins his quest for a maiden Premier League title against Michael Smith – the man he beat in the Alexandra Palace final a month ago.
Snakebite was runner-up in 2017 and reckons it is about time he went one better.
He said: “I want to get my finger out and actually play well in the Premier League for once. I’ve turned up and had some good high averages and stats before but never done that well in it.
“I’m knuckling down and I think I’ll do well in this one and especially because of the change of format as well.
“I think it will benefit me because it’s a competition. I think that will be the same for all the players.
“It’s a straight knockout and not just one game a night, there’s a potential of three games. They’re the best players in the world.
“It’s going to do us all good I think and it’s going to be great for TV and great for the crowd.”
Welshman Gerwyn Price will have the rare experience of having the fans on his side as he begins against James Wade on home soil.
Price, who is an antagonistic character, spends most of his time on the tour on the receiving end from the crowd, but that will not be the case in the Welsh capital.
He missed out on last year’s competition after catching Covid-19, so is looking forward to it.
“It was gutting for me to miss out last year, obviously testing positive for Covid,” he said. “But nice to be back and what better way than to kick off in Cardiff. Looking forward to it.
“It’s going to be nice, not just because it’s Cardiff.”
The 2021 world champion has never reached the semi-finals of the event in its old guise, but is also targeting a better showing this year.
“My biggest enemy I always say is just myself – which one of me is going to turn up,” he said.
“I missed out last year and not really done well in this tournament before. I’ve reached the last five twice. It would be nice to get into the top four and lift this trophy.
“I want to win majors I haven’t won but this is the next big one on the list. Then the Matchplay. Hopefully I can do that all in one year.
“I think in previous Premier Leagues, I missed out on the top four by a point. Every week was vital then and every week is vital now. My mindset hasn’t changed.”
There is a blockbusting tie between Michael Van Gerwen and Gary Anderson, while another Welshman Jonny Clayton takes on debutant Joe Cullen.