The world's top darts players are back on the road following the shutdown of the PDC tour caused by the coronavirus.

The Summer Series starts tomorrow and encompasses five Players Championship events, with seven Irish throwers in the 128-player field in Milton Keynes.

Results of the five tournaments will determine the final line-up for the World Matchplay, which will take place for the first time behind closed doors in the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes from 18-26 July.

Normally held at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool, the Matchplay is considered one of the most prestigious majors in the calendar. 

The 32-player field is made up of the top 16 from the PDC’s Order of Merit (OoM) plus the top 16 from the ProTour rankings.

Daryl Gurney (OoM 7) and Brendan Dolan (32) are currently the top-ranked Irish players, while Willie O’Connor (39), Steve Lennon (42), Mickey Mansell (59), Gavin Carlin (74) and Ciaran Teehan (111) will be hoping for good runs across the five days this week to put them in contention for the Matchplay and other televised events.

The Matchplay is usually held at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool 

The PDC ran the Home Tour, which was held in the players’ homes and won by Nathan Aspinall, but Gurney, along with number one Michael van Gerwen, were high-profile absentees with both men on parental duty.

"My partner is a key worker so for the last 12 or 13 weeks I've been watching my little boy full-time," Derry native Gurney, the 2017 World Grand Prix champ, told Sky Sports. 

"She's a social worker so she has been on the frontline as much as the nurses. She has still had to go out to houses and make sure all the children are under control and safe. 

"The little one is a handful, but I've enjoyed every minute of it. I have been loving spending time with my son. It definitely does put things into perspective. 

"I've given myself five weeks to get ready for the Matchplay. The big plan is to be ready for that. I've been practising for the last two weeks and I'll be practising every single night. 

"I'd love to pick up another new major other than Dublin and the [2018] Players Championship, just to add another one to the cabinet." 

The draw for the Matchplay takes place on 12 July following the conclusion of the Summer Series.