Five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld has regained his Professional Darts Corporation tour card just 14 months after retiring.
The 53-year-old Dutchman, winner of 29 PDC titles, hung up his darts in December 2019 after losing to Darin Young in the first round of the World Championship at Alexandra Palace.
Van Barneveld announced his plans to come out of retirement last September, having admitted that he missed the game, and attend Qualifying School in a bid to win back his place on the PDC circuit.
BARNEY. IS. 𝘽𝘼𝘾𝙆! 👁🐅
Raymond van Barneveld has regained his PDC Tour Card!
The Dutchman's latest win at European Q School means his place in the qualification places is secure. pic.twitter.com/LOFrTgKahM
— PDC Darts (@OfficialPDC) February 17, 2021
And he did just that on Wednesday, gaining enough ranking points at European Q School in Niedernhausen to finish in the qualification places and complete his comeback.
Van Barneveld told PDC.tv: “I have played so many tournaments in my life, but this was the hardest part of my life, ever.
“I am feeling really happy. I got a chance to put myself back on the map thanks to my management, thanks to my team and thanks to my sponsors. We worked hard every single day and because of that I got a tour card back.”
Van Barneveld is set to make his return on the PDC ProTour next week at the Super Series in Bolton, and will then compete in the UK Open in Milton Keynes next month – a tournament he won in 2006 and 2007.
Mission accomplished! I had to fight for Every point! Thank you all for your support an incredible amount of messages. I was moved and emotional today I would have liked to win a day so much but later had to realize that 3rd in this big competition is good enough for my card👊🏼 pic.twitter.com/nwhn7iaDfW
— Raymond v Barneveld (@Raybar180) February 17, 2021
He added: “My first target of this year was getting a tour card back and I want to qualify for the World Championship at the end of the year. That is my goal.
“Everything comes on my path from next week. It is a bonus. If I do well in the UK Open or ProTours, we will see. I am desperate to work even harder right now.”
The likes of Fallon Sherrock, Robert Thornton and Jamie Lewis missed out on securing tour cards.