"As great as Tom's achievements were on the golf course, he outdid himself off it, displaying dedication and compassion for a very good friend who happens to be his caddie," said PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem. "He is a shining example of what is truly good about our sport."
Watson's peers were most impressed with his season, which included two victories and two runners-up finishes in majors. He finished first or second in half his 14 Champions Tour starts.
His greatest achievement was the grace, dignity, and support he lent long-time friend and caddie Bruce Edwards, who was diagnosed with ALS, better known as Lou Gehrig's Disease, in January.
Watson won the Arnold Palmer Award as leading money-winner and the Byron Nelson Award as scoring leader. He earned $1.85 million.
Stadler won a tour-best three titles but settled for Rookie of the Year honors. Don Pooley was named Comeback Player of the Year after recovering from shoulder surgery.