Phil Taylor won his 15th World Matchplay title on Sunday, seeing off the challenge from world No. 1 Michael van Gerwen 18-9 in a dominant display.
Sky Sports Darts shared this image of The Power with the trophy:
The crowd at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool, England, didn't get to see the epic final everyone expected, but it turned into a glorious night of darts regardless.
PDC's official Twitter account shared the statistics for both players, as the experienced veteran clearly had the advantage going into the match:
The Power won the bull and came out firing, winning seven of the first eight legs. The defending champion wasn't perfect on the checkout, but he didn't have to be. He was flat-out dominant in open play, averaging an incredible 112 per three darts.
Van Gerwen's performance wasn't bad by any measure—he just ran into the world's best player at the top of his game. The people at PDC were as stunned as everyone else watching:
Professional darts MC Richard Ashdown joined the long line of fans expressing their admiration for The Power:
don't think I've ever enjoyed watching a @PhilDTaylor demolition job this much... just sublime darts!— Richard Ashdown (@LittleRichard) July 27, 2014
Big Mike tried to build some momentum going into the third break, but every time he seemed to be shifting gears, Taylor responded. There were no frustrations on the stage—Van Gerwen just acknowledged Taylor's greatness in what was a surprisingly amiable final.
The Dutch challenger had a short revival after the fourth break, but to no avail. The early-season struggles of The Power seemed like a distant memory on Sunday, and in no time, he moved within one leg of winning his 15th World Matchplay title, per BetVictor:
Coronation Street's Kym Marsh couldn't hide her excitement:
Yessss come in @PhilDTaylor wooooo!! X— Kym Marsh (@msm4rsh) July 27, 2014
Taylor had a chance to end it in the 26th leg but missed tops to hand the frame to Van Gerwen. The two shared a smile on their way back to the line, a perfect illustration of a marvelous final. The Dutchman surrendered in the next leg, and Taylor finished in vintage fashion—tops 20.
PDC Darts World shared the statistics of the match, worthy of a top final:
The Guardian's Barry Glendenning didn't hide his respect for Taylor, or his love of the sport:
Hats off to Phil Taylor. I love darts. Mikey van Gerwin sobbing. I've had worse results in Blackpool #stag— Barry Glendenning (@bglendenning) July 27, 2014
Van Gerwen won £50,000 as the runner-up and seemed more than happy, knowing full well he was no match for Taylor on the night. Averaging well over 100 and nearly 50 percent on the checkout, the Dutchman would have beaten any other player on the night.
The Power will go home with £100,000 and his 15th World Matchplay trophy, 13 more than his next challenger.
Taylor was full of respect for his much younger opponent, and Van Gerwen even had to hide his tears as the two shared a hug. The Power didn't hide his emotions when talking to Sky Sports, either:
The last six months have been an absolute nightmare for me. I can't say enough about him (MVG), he's crying and that shows the passion he's got. I'm going to be doing that in about 10minutes time when I'm paying for the curry about to have.
Van Gerwen didn't mince his words.
"I wasn't good enough today," he said. "I want to touch this trophy and I want to do it next year. He was the better player all tournament and he deserved to win today."
The Dutchman is undoubtedly the future of the sport, as one of the youngest World Champions darts has ever seen. But as long as Taylor keeps up this level of play, there is no question who the man to beat will be in any given tournament.
The two have built quite a rivalry in the past two years, but on Sunday, we saw none of that. The 2014 World Matchplay was one of the finest editions we've seen in years, and the final was darts at its very finest.