PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla., Nov. 30 -- After completing one of the most dominant seasons in the history of golf, Tiger Woods Thursday was named the PGA Tour's Player of the Year for the third time in four years.
Michael Clark II, the only first-year player to win a PGA Tour event this year, was named Rookie of the Year, and Paul Azinger, who won his first title since battling lymphoma in late 1993, earned the Comeback Player of the Year honors.
Woods, selected by a vote of the members of the PGA Tour, will receive the Jack Nicklaus Award for his honor. He is the first PGA Tour player to win the award three times, surpassing Fred Couples and Nick Price.
He completed an astonishing year with nine PGA Tour wins, the most since Sam Snead won 11 times in 1950. By claiming the U.S. Open, British Open and PGA Championship, the 24-year-old Woods became only the fifth player to capture golf's four majors and the youngest to do so. He also was the first to win three majors in a season since Ben Hogan in 1953.
"The fact that I was able to work on a lot of things I haven't been able to work on in the past few years all came together in the biggest events," said Woods, who set scoring records for winning margins at the U.S. and British Opens. "The fact that I was able to play as well as I did in the big events, in the major championships, that's ultimately what you want to have happen."
In addition, Woods shattered his own season earnings record with $9,188,321, his third money title in four years. He also collected his second straight Byron Nelson Award for lowest scoring average (67.79) and led 6-of-10 statistical categories overall.
Ernie Els, who finished second at The Masters and the U.S. and British Opens, and Phil Mickelson, a four-time winner in 2000, were the other finalists for Player of the Year.
Clark, 31, beat Kirk Triplett on the fourth playoff hole to win the John Deere Classic in July. He posted six top-25 finishes and placed 56th on the money list with $854,822. Edward Fryatt and Matt Gogel were the other finalists for the rookie award.
Azinger captured the Sony Open in Hawaii for his first title since 1993, the year as he was diagnosed with cancer in his right shoulder blade. He finished the year with a career-best $1,597,539 and earned a position on the U.S. Presidents Cup team.
Steve Lowery, Blaine McCallister, Scott Verplank and Grant Waite were the other nominees for comeback honors.NEWLN: