Wed, Dec 10, 2003 - Page 19 News List

Competitors select Woods as tour player of the year

AP , THOUSAND OAKS, CALIFORNIA AND ORLANDO, FLORIDA

Tiger Woods practices at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, California, Monday, after it was announced he was voted PGA Tour player of the year for the fifth straight time.

PHOTO: AP

A wild season in golf came to a familiar conclusion when Tiger Woods was voted PGA Tour player of the year for the fifth straight time, narrowly beating Vijay Singh.

Woods failed to win the PGA Tour money title or a major championship for the first time since 1998. Still, his peers decided his season was the best on tour.

Woods won five times, including two World Golf Championships, had the lowest scoring average and was second on the money list, despite playing only 18 times.

"There's a tremendous amount of satisfaction because it just shows that guys on the tour respect that I was consistent, that I've won numerous times," Woods said Monday. "I think that's what the award reflects."

The PGA Tour does not release vote totals.

Ben Curtis was voted rookie of the year for winning the British Open in his first appearance at a major. Peter Jacobsen was voted comeback player of the year for winning the Greater Hartford Open at age 49, his first tour victory in eight years.

Woods won for the sixth time in seven years; no one else has won player of the year more than twice since it was created in 1990.

He became the first player since Greg Norman in 1995 to win the award despite not winning a major.

Woods led the PGA Tour in victories for the fifth straight year, and his 68.41 adjusted scoring average was the second-lowest in history behind his 68.13 mark in 2000.

While Woods has said majors are the most important, more than that went into this vote.

"Number of wins and quality for the entire year," Woods said. "I had the second-lowest scoring average in tour history next to mine in 2000, so that shows I played at a consistent level for the entire year."

Singh was equally consistent, winning four times -- in the winter, spring, summer and fall -- and ending Woods' four-year reign atop the money list with US$7.5 million.

The 40-year-old Fijian was consistent from start to finish, and he was particularly strong at the end of the year with two victories and eight straight finishes in the top 10 as he surged past Woods to win the money title.

"He was more consistent than he's ever been," Woods said. "Toward the end of the year, he just got on a roll and was very consistent with his game. He had a lot of confidence. It just seemed like every single week he was in the top 10. That's what it's all about."

Singh finished ahead of Woods in three of the majors, although neither won any of the four Grand Slam events.

qualifying tournament

Mathias Gronberg of Sweden won the PGA Tour qualifying tournament, and former Ryder Cup player Steve Pate and veteran Jay Delsing also secured 2004 cards.

Gronberg, a four-time winner on the European tour, topped the 34 PGA Tour qualifiers, closing with a 4-under 68 Monday to beat Danny Ellis by two strokes in the six-round event.

Gronberg finished with a 20-under 412 total on Orange County National's Crooked Cat and Panther Lake courses, and earned US$50,000. Pate closed with a 68 to tie for 21st, while Delsing shot a 69 to make it by a stroke at 7 under.

Pate, who lost his card after finishing 180th on the money list this season, was 7 under when he teed off on the par-5 18th at Panther Lake. He hit his second shot to 12 feet and made the putt for eagle, finishing at 9 under.

Delsing, who had 1995 US Open champion Corey Pavin as his caddie during the event, had more trouble securing his card.

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