Masters: Ronnie O'Sullivan beats Barry Hawkins to win sixth title
Ronnie O'Sullivan crushed Barry Hawkins 10-1 to clinch his sixth Masters title.
World number eight Hawkins won the first frame, but thereafter it was one-way traffic as O'Sullivan took control of the final.
The five-time world champion showed his class with a superb break of 136 in frame three and wrapped up victory with a break of 82.
O'Sullivan now jointly holds the record for most Masters titles with Stephen Hendry.
The world number six - playing in his first televised tournament since losing to Stuart Bingham in the World Championship quarter-finals in April - also equalled the biggest-ever margin of victory in a Masters final, tying Steve Davis' 9-0 win over Mike Hallett in 1988.
40-year-old O'Sullivan was highly critical of his performance in his semi-final win over Bingham, saying he felt "embarrassed" and "had no touch or feel".
But he was in excellent form in the final as Hawkins - who had lost nine times in 10 previous meetings with O'Sullivan - appeared to wilt under the pressure of his first Masters final.
O'Sullivan 'surprised' by victory
Essex potter O'Sullivan, who needed a final-frame decider to overcome Mark Williams in the first round, said he was surprised to have made a triumphant return after his hiatus.
"I am over the moon. I knew I needed to raise my level," he told the BBC. "I was able to do that and I managed my emotions well. I am delighted to play as well I have done.
"I am never normally surprised when I win tournaments but I am surprised I have won it after eight months out. It is about producing when it matters.
"Dr Steve Peters [O'Sullivan's psychiatrist] mentioned a couple of things and I just had to focus on each ball. If Barry played like he did in the semis, it would have been a great match."
But O'Sullivan was lukewarm on his chances of adding a sixth world title to his sixth Masters crown.
"This is only a week, but to keep your focus for 17 days at the World Championship is a grind," he said. "We'll see how it goes."
Hawkins 'disappointed' by display
Hawkins had been in excellent form on his way to the final, making three century breaks to upset world number five Judd Trump in the semis.
But he never got going in the final and admitted he was frustrated with his lacklustre display.
"I am disappointed with my performance," Hawkins told BBC Sport. "I didn't give him a game. I was all over the place.
"If someone said I would have got to the final, I would have ripped their arm off. [But] it is hard to take positives, even though I played well most of the week."
What the pundits said
Six-time world champion Steve Davis: "There has not been a situation where one player is bigger than the sport but Ronnie O'Sullivan comes close.
"Ronnie puts people out of their stride and puts paid to challengers. It would be fair to say, other than Mark Williams, people didn't perform against him.
"Barry says he had a bad day but he was left a lot of awkward shots. He got into more of a hole as the match went on."
1991 world champion John Parrott: "Ronnie sets himself very exacting standards and comes back very downbeat. It takes some pressure off himself. He is total box office - every session he has played in has been sold out.
"He played hard matchplay snooker and was very professional and business-like today. He played all the right shots that he needed to.
"He didn't waste any opportunities. Barry was struggling to get going and Ronnie knew that - he didn't give him anything."
Ronnie O'Sullivan (Eng) 10-1 Barry Hawkins (Eng)
50-66, 97-8 (70), 136-0 (136), 73-49 (52), 72-28, 64-36, 77-17 (77), 72-13 (72), 58-39, 92-0 (66), 82-0 (82)