In what has become an almost annual formality, Tiger Woods was once again named the PGA Tour's Player of the Year Tuesday.
Voted the winner of the Jack Nicklaus Trophy by his peers, Woods has now won the award three consecutive years and nine times in his 11 seasons as a professional golfer. In 2007, Woods had seven victories, finished first on the PGA Tour money list, won another major at the PGA Championship and captured the first FedEx Cup.
In addition to sweeping the top three PGA Tour awards - he also won the Arnold Palmer Award as the Tour's top money winner ($10.8 million) and the Byron Nelson Award for lowest scoring average (67.79) - Woods' wife, Elin, gave birth to the couple's first child this summer.
"It's been a great year," Woods told reporters Tuesday. "Overall, I mean, to get obviously the wins and get the respect of your peers, that's always what you want to have happen. This year was just a fantastic year on the golf course and even better off the golf course."
The only two seasons Woods failed to win player of the year honors were in 1998 and 2004. Both were years when the world No. 1 player was revamping his swing.
Woods said his season was comparable to his remarkable 2000 campaign, which is still regarded as his best year when he captured three major titles. While Woods only won one major in 2007, he was in contention in the other three, tying for second in both the Masters and U.S. Open and finishing tied for 12th in the British Open.
"There's no doubt, right up there," Woods said, comparing his 2007 season to 2000. "I hit the ball very well and made the putts, which was nice. I really felt like I had control of the golf ball. I could hit any shot I felt like I wanted to hit.
"Granted, I did have some bad days in there, but I managed to shoot 70 or 69 on those bad days through course management or proper misses."
In 2000, Woods won nine of 20 starts and captured the final three majors of the season. For emphasis, Woods later reiterated that his very good season was very close to being another historical year.
"It wasn't that far away," Woods said. "I mean, just probably, what, four shots?"
Overall, Woods made the cut in all 16 events he played in, winning seven times, finishing second three times and ending in the top 10 12 times.
Steve Stricker said it's obvious that the rest of the PGA Tour players have some work to do to start closing the gap between Woods and them.
"Just playing with him toward the end of the season and watching what he does and what he's capable of doing kind of just blows me away at times," Stricker told reporters. "I realized that back in '97 when I first played with him.
"His rookie year on Tour, basically. I played with him at AT&T, and I was coming off a good year in '96, and I kind of looked at him to see how I could stack up. I didn't stack up very well then, and I don't stack up very well against him now, either."
In other PGA Tour awards, Stricker won the Comeback Player of the Year Award for the second consecutive season. Brandt Snedeker was named PGA Tour Rookie of the Year.
December 12, 2007
Davis Love III, who played the final 57 holes of the Children's Miracle Network Classic without a bogey, finished at 25-under 263 in the season-ending event played at the Walt Disney World Golf Resort in Florida. It has been a long road back for Love, who severely sprained his ankle late last year. After tearing ligaments, he needed surgery, and he's spent much of this year rehabilitating the injury.
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