Golf: Tiger Woods named player of year
Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. • Tiger Woods was voted PGA Tour player of the year for the 11th time on the strength of his five big wins and return to No. 1 in the world.
It was the third time Woods won the Jack Nicklaus Award despite not winning a major. He made up for that with two World Golf Championships and The Players Championship among his five wins. No one else won more than twice this year, and Woods won the Vardon Trophy for lowest scoring average and the PGA Tour money title.
"It's been an incredible year to have won five times, two of those World Golf Championships and one Players," Woods said on a conference call Friday. "It's been just a fantastic year all around. It's also an incredible feeling to be voted by your peers, and to have that type of respect is something that's very humbling."
The PGA Tour does not release the percentage of votes won or even who finished second.
Jordan Spieth was voted rookie of the year in a race that likely was no contest. The 20-year-old Texan began the year with no status on any tour. He won the John Deere Classic, lost in a playoff at another event, reached the Tour Championship, was chosen for the Presidents Cup team and wound up 10th on the money list with nearly $4 million.
He will be the youngest American and first PGA Tour rookie to play in the Presidents Cup next week in Ohio.
"I don't know if it's a 'pinch me' moment yet," Spieth said. "I think my mind is still really on next week."
Woods was on the ballot with British Open champion Phil Mickelson, Masters champion Adam Scott, FedEx Cup champion Henrik Stenson and Matt Kuchar. Mickelson also won the Phoenix Open and was runner-up in the U.S. Open for the sixth time. Along with his first major, Scott won The Barclays.
In Pebble Beach, Calif., Bernhard Langer birdied his first four holes and finished with a 9-under 63 to open a four-stroke lead in the Champions Tour's First Tee Open. The German star, a two-time winner this year on the 50-and-over tour, had nine birdies in his bogey-free round at Del Monte Country Club. He had a 6-under 30 on the back nine his opening nine.
Defending champion Kirk Triplett, Tom Lehman, Andrew Magee, Mark McNulty and Doug Garwood were tied for second at 67.
First Tee Open
Bernhard Langer -9
Tom Lehman -5
Andrew Magee -5
Kirk Triplett -5
Marc McNulty -5
Doug Garwood -5
Jay Don Blake -2