Phil Taylor, who has won the world darts championship a record 16 times, sailed into retirement on Monday, January 1, after failing to write the perfect ending to his own script.
The portly and tattooed 57-year-old from Stoke-on-Trent in the England is hardly an athlete but in the world of darts he is a legend.
But in the final of the PDC World Championship at Alexandra Palace in London the man they call "The Power" was beaten 7-2 by Rob Cross, a 27-year-old former electrician who goes by the nickname of "Voltage".
I’ll get sentimental here. You may know @PhilTaylor has (obviously) “I got the power” as his play on. But he’s introduced always with Copland’s “Fanfare For The Common Man” — the right anthem for him and for darts. Nothing nobler.— Stephen Fry (@stephenfry) January 1, 2018
Darts was invented in the 19th century and was traditionally played in British public houses, or pubs, while players downed pints of beer. It later became popular in other Commonwealth countries and in parts of Europe and North America.
Beer Drinking Culture in Darts
It was first televised in the UK in the early 1980s and players like Eric "The Crafty Cockney" Bristow, John Lowe and Jocky Wilson became household names.
For years players would drink between games on live television and many of them had large beer bellies and were gently mocked by comedians.
But afficionados of the game include actor and comedian Stephen Fry, who tweeted using the hashtag #Lovethedarts.
Taylor has won 216 professional tournaments, including 83 major titles, during his career.
He started out as a protégé of Bristow, a Londoner who moved to Stoke and was a giant (literally) of darts in the 1970s and 80s.
Taylor Eclipsed the Great Eric Bristow
But Taylor's prowess at the oche — the line which players have to stand behind to throw their "arrows" — surpassed even Bristow, who won the world title five times.
After losing the game against Cross, Taylor jokingly lifted the trophy in the air, before handing it over to his conqueror.
"It's been marvellous. I've had a fantastic career, but with the youngsters coming through I just can't do it anymore," said Taylor.
"I tried my best but he was like me 25 years ago, he was relentless and didn't stop putting me under pressure. It was like an old man against a young man. It was a mismatch. That's it for me because I haven't got the energy or interest to beat (Dutchman) Michael van Gerwen or him," he said of Cross.
Cross had beaten Van Gerwen, the defending champion, 6-5 in a thrilling semi-final.
"It was my dream 15 years ago to play this guy and now I've played him, it's absolutely phenomenal. I was actually born in 1990 when he won his first title," said Cross.
"Watching him with his dominance over the years he has been excellent and you won't see another sportsman like him, you definitely won't," he added.
Dominated the Sport Between 1995 and 2013
Taylor won the BDO world championship in 1990 and 1992 and won the PDC version in 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2009, 2010 and 2013.
He also won the World Matchplay tournament 16 times, the World Grand Prix 11 times and the Grand Slam of darts six times.
Taylor won five UK Opens, four European Championships and three Players' Championship finals.
He is said to be worth £3.4 million (US$4.6 million) and in 2016 he was reportedly ordered to hand over five houses, his pension and £830,000 (US$1.1 million) to his ex-wife Yvonne in a divorce settlement.
Some on social media have even suggested he will be persuaded to play on, rather than retire.