REIGNING BDO World Champion and world number one Stephen Bunting has announced he has switched to the PDC.
The Bullet defeated Alan Norris 7-4 in the 2014 Lakeside final to add to his extensive haul of recent BDO titles, which included the defence of the World Masters without even dropping a set.
Bunting, 28 from St. Helens, is the second BDO World Champion to have switched to the PDC this week. Christian Kist, the 2011 Lakeside Champion, earned his PDC Tour Card via the organisation’s qualifying ‘Q School’ on 18 January.
In 2013 Bunting won the: England Masters, England Matchplay, England Open, Isle of Man Open, Mariflex Open, Welsh Open as well as becoming only the fourth player in history to defend the World Masters crown.
He also won two of last year’s eight Soft-Tip World Stage events in Paris and Hong Kong.
In his first PDC interview, Bunting told www.pdc.tv: “It’s been an absolutely massive decision for me to make and a very difficult decision.
“I’ve been tearing my hair out for the last two weeks and my decision was only made last night, which shows how tough it was. I’ve always looked at the PDC and seen the money involved, and my family were a big influence in my decision – my son Toby was cheering, so it shows that the family are excited!
“I’ve loved my time in the BDO. I’ve won everything I can in the BDO now and was just looking for a new challenge.”
The full statement can be read via the link above.
Bunting has played in the two most recent PDC UK Opens, which allow any non-PDC player to qualify as a ‘Pub Qualifier’.
He was defeated 3-4 in the second round of the 2012 UK Open by then-champion James Wade (missing a dart at the Bull and three at Double 19 for the match) and reached the Last 32 of last year’s tournament before succumbing to 2014 PDC World Championship runner-up Peter Wright 2-9.
The Bullet’s first PDC appearance will be at the first 2014 UK Open Qualifiers in Wigan next month.
But the tide does go the other way in Darts.
Double BDO World Champion Ted Hankey and 2010 PDC World Cup of Darts winner Co Stompé have recently announced their return to the BDO from the PDC.
Hankey will make his BDO comeback at the inaugural BDO World Trophy in Blackpool from 4-9 February.
Stephen Bunting was the top seed for this event.