WHITLOCK TAKES ON THE CHAMP IN MILTON KEYNES

MICHAEL VAN GERWEN will begin his bid to win a third successive Unibet Masters title against Simon Whitlock, with draw and schedule of play now available for the £200,000 tournament.

The fifth staging of the Unibet Masters will see the world's top 16 players face off from January 27-29 at Arena MK in Milton Keynes, with the four sessions broadcast live on ITV4.

The tournament will open on Friday Janaury 27, with inaugural champion Phil Taylor taking on former World Youth Champion Michael Smith in one of four first round matches.

Two-time World Champion Gary Anderson plays Benito van de Pas, world number three Peter Wright takes on Ian White and 2016 finalist Dave Chisnall faces 2015 runner-up Raymond van Barneveld.

New World Champion Van Gerwen, the top seed as world number one, opens his challenge for a Masters hat-trick against Australia's Simon Whitlock, the world number 16, in one of Saturday's final four first round games.

2014 champion James Wade takes on Scottish star Robert Thornton, with world number four Adrian Lewis up against Belgium's Kim Huybrechts and Austria's Mensur Suljovic making his Masters debut when he faces Dutchman Jelle Klaasen.

Sunday afternoon then sees the four quarter-finals held before the tournament concludes on Sunday evening with the semi-finals and final.

Tickets for the 2017 Unibet Masters are still available and can be purchased online from www.theticketfactory.com/PDC.

Tickets, including table seating, for all sessions are also available from the Stadium MK Box Office via 0333 200 5343 or boxoffice@mkdons.com.

Tiered Seating tickets can be booked online from the Stadium MK Box Office through this link.

Van Gerwen is the 13/25 pre-tournament favourite with sponsors Unibet, with world number two Anderson the 7/1 second favourite and both Taylor and Wright rated 11/1 to take the title on January 29.

2017 Unibet Masters
Tournament Bracket & First Round Draw
Michael van Gerwen (1) v Simon Whitlock (16)
Mensur Suljovic (8) v Jelle Klaasen (9)
James Wade (5) v Robert Thornton (12)
Adrian Lewis (4) v Kim Huybrechts (13)
Gary Anderson (2) v Benito van de Pas (15)
Dave Chisnall (7) v Raymond van Barneveld (10)
Phil Taylor (6) v Michael Smith (11)
Peter Wright (3) v Ian White (14)

Schedule of Play
Friday January 27 (7pm)
First Round
Dave Chisnall (7) v Raymond van Barneveld (10)
Phil Taylor (6) v Michael Smith (11)
Gary Anderson (2) v Benito van de Pas (15)
Peter Wright (3) v Ian White (14)

Saturday January 28 (7pm)
First Round
Mensur Suljovic (8) v Jelle Klaasen (9)
James Wade (5) v Robert Thornton (12)
Michael van Gerwen (1) v Simon Whitlock (16)
Adrian Lewis (4) v Kim Huybrechts (13)

Sunday January 29
Afternoon Session (12.45pm)
Quarter-Finals
Taylor (6)/Smith (11) v Wright (3)/White (14)
Anderson (2)/Van de Pas (15) v Chisnall (7)/Van Barneveld (10)
Wade (5)/Thornton (12) v Lewis (4)/Huybrechts (13)
Van Gerwen (1)/Whitlock (16) v Suljovic (8)/Klaasen (9)

Evening Session (7pm)
Semi-Finals
Final

Format
First Round - Best of 19 legs
Quarter-Finals - Best of 19 legs
Semi-Finals - Best of 21 legs
Final - Best of 21 legs

Prize Fund
Winner £60,000
Runner-Up £25,000
Semi-Finalists £17,500
Quarter-Finalists £10,000
First Round £5,000
Total £200,000

Unibet Odds
Outright Winner
13/25 Michael van Gerwen
7/1 Gary Anderson
11/1 Phil Taylor, Peter Wright
16/1 Adrian Lewis
22/1 Dave Chisnall, James Wade, Raymond van Barneveld
33/1 Jelle Klaasen
40/1 Michael Smith, Mensur Suljovic, Simon Whitlock, Benito van de Pas
50/1 Kim Huybrechts, Robert Thornton
66/1 Ian White

First Round Matches
Dave Chisnall 9/10 v Raymond van Barneveld 9/10
Phil Taylor 1/4 v Michael Smith 3/1
Gary Anderson 9/50 v Benito van de Pas 4/1
Peter Wright 1/5 v Ian White 7/2
Mensur Suljovic 6/5 v Jelle Klaasen 4/6
James Wade 3/8 v Robert Thornton 2/1
Michael van Gerwen 1/20 v Simon Whitlock 9/1
Adrian Lewis 13/25 v Kim Huybrechts 6/4
Odds courtesy www.unibet.co.uk and subject to fluctuation.