Phil Taylor was left in tears after winning the Stan James World Matchplay for a ninth time with an 18-9 destruction of James Wade.
Wade, the defending champion, led 7-4 in his bid for a first victory over the Stoke legend in a final - only to fall victim to an incredible performance as Taylor averaged almost 110 to take the £60,000 first prize.
Taylor claimed 12 legs out of 13 to move 16-8 up before Wade hit seven perfect darts in hitting back, but he was merely delaying the inevitable, with victory sealed thanks to a 132 bullseye checkout.
"I'm lost for words," admitted a tearful Taylor. "It means so much to me to win this title back.
"I've never been prouder of winning a tournament in my entire career than now.
"At the end of last year when I lost in the first round of the World Grand Prix in Ireland, I sat backstage and thought that my career was over. But I've worked so hard and this is a reflection on that.
"James started superbly in the final and I had to do something special to get back at him."
Taylor's policy of winning the pre-match bullseye paid dividends when he stepped in to win the opening leg, although the next three also went against the throw, including a 115 checkout from the Stoke man.
Wade landed a second maximum of the game to set up an 81 checkout in leg five as he went 3-2 up, only for Taylor to take out 85 in the next and square the game.
Taylor kicked off leg seven with a 177, but a maximum in a fourth successive leg pushed Wade in front before he landed double 12 for a 4-3 cushion.
Although Taylor levelled, Wade then accelerated through the next three legs, taking a ten-darter, a break of throw on double ten and a 104 finish in moving 7-4 up.
Echoing their 2006 final, when Wade led early on before Taylor took the win, the eight-time champion replied in sensational style to win 12 of the next 13 legs.
That run included a 142 finish and three successive double 12 checkouts as Taylor raised his average to almost 111, with power scoring consistently taking him first to a finish as he moved 16-8 up.
Both players then hit back-to-back maximums to set up potential nine-darters, with Wade missing the treble 19 after seven perfect darts and Taylor failing on a seventh treble 20.
Wade took an incredible leg in 12 darts, but even an 11th maximum of the game was not enough for the defending champion as Taylor hit double 16 to move to one leg from the win.
And he sealed the victory in stunning style, with a 132 finish, culminating in a tricky bullseye from the right of the oche, earning him the £60,000 first prize and a ninth World Matchplay crown.
"I started well but lost the plot half way through and Phil was just superb," said Wade.
"He fully deserved the title but hopefully one day I'll punish him for this. He's driving me on to get better and I can't wait to play him again.
"I'm proud to have reached three successive finals in the World Matchplay, but I'll do my best to get to the final next year and win it back."