After an eventful year involving the death of his father and his eleventh and twelfth Major victories, Tiger Woods has been honoured by his fellow professionals after the PGA of America voted him as the USPGA Tour Player of the Year for 2006. It is the eighth time in total that Woods has won the award, with his wins in the Open and the USPGA (he is pictured here with the Wanamaker Trophy) as well as six other strokeplay victories earning the respect of his peers once again.
Woods can also include two WGC wins on his list for 2006 – amazingly the fifth time that he has achieved multiple wins in events that are considered to be second only to the Majors in terms of prestige and world ranking points. All of this helped him to amass almost $10 million in total prizemoney for the season. A few weeks ago he was confirmed as the winner of the 2006 Byron Nelson Trophy for having the lowest stroke average of the year, which worked out at an impressive 68.11 strokes per round.
“It’s always an honour to earn the respect of your peers,” said a delighted Woods on hearing the news.
“This year has bee interesting to say the least, both on and off the course. After playing as badly as I did at the US Open it was nice to get things going again as early in the year I was playing some good stuff. I was able to go back to some of the things I was working on earlier in the year and eventually I began to win some tournaments.”
“Tiger has raised his game once again this year,” said PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem.
“He has reached and stayed at a level of sustained excellence. Winning the Jack Nicklaus trophy for the eighth time is testimony to his greatness.”
Elsewhere, South Africa’s Trevor Immelman won the Rookie of the Year award after winning the Western Open and amassing $3.8 million in his first season as a pro. He will be hoping that the prestigious honour can lead to more tournament victories next year and a place in the top ten of the world rankings.
Finally, 39 year-old American Steve Stricker capped a memorable return to form by winning the 2006 Comeback Player of the Year award – some ten years after he won twice during his breakthrough season in 1996. The 1998 USPGA Championship runner-up had struggled for form over the last few seasons but notched up seven top ten finishes this year on his way to earning $1.8 million, rolling back the years in fine style.