Phil Taylor broke his own record for a major final when producing a brilliant display to hammer Raymond van Barneveld 7-1 in the World Darts Championship and take his 14th world title in London last night.
Taylor had not won the title for three years but the result was never in doubt as he racked up a brilliant three-dart average of 109.76 at Alexandra Palace. The 48-year-old, who took advantage of some poor finishing from Van Barneveld, has now won 12 of the 16 PDC championships.
A focused Taylor began impressively, taking the first leg against the throw on his way to claiming the first set.
Taylor made his first mistake in the opening leg of the second set when he missed two chances at double 14 but Van Barneveld could not hit double eight and his rival did not let him off the hook again. Taylor made it six in a row to take a two-set lead. He then forced a decider in the third set with a 126 checkout, but it was Van Barneveld who took it after both players missed straightforward chances.
Taylor was back at his best in the fourth-set opener but his opponent checked out well to level. Two 180s helped Van Barneveld force a deciding leg, but he did not take his chance and the top seed moved 3-1 ahead.
By now it was a much closer contest and Van Barneveld won the opening two legs, but Taylor upped his game again to force another decider and a dominant leg saw him take the set against the darts.
Van Barneveld hung in to level twice in the next set, but Taylor was not to be denied as he moved to within two sets of another title.
That quickly became one as Van Barneveld again missed crucial chances. The Dutchman forced a decider in the eighth set but it was delaying the inevitable as Taylor finished off the match in emphatic style.
Taylor said: "I feel absolutely fantastic, I really do. It was a great game and obviously that score was great for me."
Van Barneveld said: "I played a computer. He's absolutely brilliant. All my congratulations to Phil. Practising 10 hours a day is not enough. But I'll be back."