Tiger Woods was named as the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year for a record 11th time on Friday, with fellow US golfer Jordan Spieth voted rookie of the year.
Both awards were determined by votes cast by tour members who played in at least 12 official money events this year.
“Tiger’s five wins came against some of the strongest fields in golf, including the Players and two World Golf Championships, while Jordan’s rookie season was historic in terms of his accomplishments for a player just 20 years old,” PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said in a statement.
“The member vote reflects the respect their peers have for both players,” he said.
Woods, 37, won five of his first 11 events in a spectacular start to the year, winning the Farmers Insurance Open, the WGC-Cadillac Championship, the Arnold Palmer Invitational, the Players Championship and the WGC-Bridgestone.
World No. 1 Woods said winning the award remained a special achievement for him, especially as he has battled back from knee and back ailments to thrive once again on the tour.
“I’ve had to work my way back from injuries on numerous occasions throughout the years,” Woods said. “These last couple years is no exception to that.”
“There were a lot of people saying I could never win again and two years later I’ve got eight wins on our tour. I’m very proud of where I’ve come from, from being ranked outside the top 50 to being ranked where I am now, and to have had the success that I’ve had this year just makes it all the more rewarding,” he added.
His ledger this year also included a second-place finish in the FedExCup series, but was in some ways still disappointing to the American.
After his blazing start, a nagging back injury hampered Woods in the latter stages of a season in which he fell short of his goal of adding to his major championship haul of 14.
He tied for fourth at the Masters, finished tied for 32 at the US Open, tied for sixth at the British Open and shared 40th place in the PGA Championship.
Spieth began the year with no PGA Tour status, yet entered 23 events and won the John Deere Classic, where at 19 years, 11 months and 18 days, he became the youngest player to win on the tour since 1931.
The former college standout at Texas, who began his run with the help of some sponsor exemptions, became the youngest player to reach the Tour Championship and finished second in that elite, season-ending event.
Spieth finished 10th on the money list at just under US$4 million as he recorded nine top 10 finishes, tied for the most on tour and was made a captain’s pick for this year’s Presidents Cup.
“I don’t know if it’s a pinch-me moment yet. I think my mind is still really on next week,” Spieth said about the upcoming Presidents Cup.
“I haven’t really had time to sit back and think about it, but with no status it was hard to expect or think about something like this happening. I have confidence in myself ... to get the job done. Just the way the year ran, the way it happened, I feel very fortunate, very blessed. A lot of luck involved,” he added.
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