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Andy Hamilton, Wes Newton and Mark Walsh among familiar faces relegated from the PDC Tour

Fleetwood's Newton surrenders his Tour Card (credit:Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

Former major finalists Andy Hamilton, Wes Newton and Mark Walsh are among the notable names to drop off the PDC circuit at the end of the current season.

Following the 2017/18 World Championship, the top 64 players in the PDC Order of Merit will automatically retain their Tour Cards, as well as the players ranked below 64 who already have two-year Tour Cards to their names.

Those who have failed to retain a Tour Card will be required to compete in either the UK or European Qualifying School in Wigan or Hildesheim from January 18-21 if they are to regain a place on the circuit.

In a change to the criteria, the 2018 Challenge Tour (the PDC's second-tier circuit) will only be open to players who competed at Q School, meaning there will be no "Challenge Tour Only" PDPA membership available.

In addition, the field of 128 players for Players Championship events will be topped up by players from the Challenge Tour Order of Merit as opposed to the Qualifying School Order of Merit.

Hamilton, World Championship finalist in 2012 and a Premier League player in 2013, dropped out of the world's top 64 for the first time after failing to qualify for the upcoming World Championship via the last-chance PDPA Qualifying event on Monday.

The Hammer had failed to qualify for a televised tournament since last November's Players Championship Finals and has failed to progress beyond the Last 16 of any ranking event since October 2015.

Newton, runner-up in the 2011 UK Open and 2012 European Championship, has also lost his place on the professional circuit for the first time since the Tour Card system was introduced six years ago.

A Premier League participant in 2012, 'The Warrior's' last appearance in a TV major came in the 2016 UK Open and he amassed just £6,250 in prize money this season.

Walsh, UK Open finalist back in 2005 and Grand Slam semi-finalist in 2011, is projected to drop to 79th in the Order of Merit following the World Championship.

Walsh has featured in just one televised tournament in 2014 and has failed to advance beyond the Last 32 of any PDC ranking competition in 2017.

Three-time major semi-finalist Andy Jenkins is projected to end the season in 68th position, one place ahead of Dutch youngster Berry van Peer - who captured the hearts of the darting public at the recent Grand Slam in Wolverhampton.

With Phil Taylor and Terry Jenkins both set to resign their Tour Cards at the end of the season, a further two places are to be claimed from those ranked 65th and 66th or the next highest ranked players without a Tour Card to their names.

Having come through this year's Qualifying School to earn a two-year Tour Card, the likes of Paul Nicholson, Kirk Shepherd, Mickey Mansell and Antonio Alcinas will remain on the tour for at least another season.



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Andy Hamilton, Wes Newton and Mark Walsh among familiar faces relegated from the PDC Tour

Former major finalists Andy Hamilton, Wes Newton and Mark Walsh are among the notable names to drop off the PDC circuit at the end of the current season.

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