Michael van Gerwen was untouchable in 2016 with 25 trophies to his name and started 2017 no different, defeating Gary Anderson to win the World Darts Championship title on Monday night.
The Dutchman described this stage as his on the eve of this epic final. When Anderson – a two-time winner of this tournament – had the audacity to step foot on it, Van Gerwen showed why.
The man known as Mighty Mike won 7-3 and showed precisely why he is seen by some as the heir to Phil Taylor’s throne, taking home the Sid Waddell Trophy and £350,000 prize money.
There were 42 180s thrown here – a record for the most ever maximums in a match, beating the 34 from the final between Anderson and Adrian Lewis last year.
Anderson was trying to join Taylor and Eric Bristow in the history books by winning a third consecutive world title here but his opponent on the oche gave him no chance.
Van Gerwen always said he would swap the 25 titles he won in 2016 to be crowned world champion, so desperately did he want this.
In 2014 he beat Peter Wright 7-4 to win his first world title. His second was more straightforward, though the Flying Scotsman put up a fight at first.
It was fast and furious as they got to 1-1, both averaging 107, before then moving to 2-2.
Yet from then on, it was an onslaught. Van Gerwen ran away with it, winning 7-3.
Van Gerwen was labelled the Lionel Messi of Darts by this newspaper, and the Michael Jordan of it by The New York Times before the tournament began. Here, with each unerring dart, we found out why.
There was controversy when a person stormed the stage and picked up the Sid Waddell Trophy, holding it aloft to the crowd before being tackled by security.
Van Gerwen didn’t care, though, as he was crowned a world champion once more.