Tiger Woods cleans up again at ESPYs
LOS ANGELES -- Tiger Woods continues to own the ESPY Awards the same way he owns golf's major championships.
Woods, who is halfway to the Grand Slam in 2002, walked off with three ESPYs on Wednesday night, including the award for Best Male Athlete for the third consecutive year. He also captured the honors for Best Male Golfer and Best Record-Breaking Performance, raising his career total to 14 ESPYs, the most in the history of the award show.
Woods, who was not in attendance at the event, edged out Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong, single-season home run champ Barry Bonds, three-time NBA champion Shaquille O'Neal and undefeated collegiate wrestler Cael Sanderson to win Best Male Athlete in voting by the ESPY Academy, a 151-member panel consisting of legendary athletes and coaches and media members.
Venus Williams captured two ESPYs, including Best Female Athlete honors over WNBA MVP Lisa Leslie, gold-medal figure skater Sarah Hughes, golfer Annika Sorenstam and tennis star Jennifer Capriati, who won the ESPY for Best Comeback Athlete following her victories last year at the Australian and French opens. It was the first time a tennis player had captured the honor since Monica Seles did so in 1993.
Serena Williams accepted Venus' female athlete trophy, saying her sister couldn't attend because of an unspecified prior obligation.
"I talked to her on the phone and she said she wanted this award to go to the rest of our family for all the support they provide," Serena said.
San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds was the evening's other multiple winner, taking home honors for the top Major League Baseball Player of the Year and Best Moment for breaking Mark McGwire's single-season home run record.
The Los Angeles Lakers, who have won two NBA championships since the last ESPY Awards were held in February 2001, were named the Best Team, and coach Phil Jackson, who won his ninth NBA championship last month, was named Best Coach.
Capriati was selected comeback athlete over Michael Jordan and three NHL players. She won last year's Australian and French opens.
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady won the ESPY Award for breakthrough athlete of the year. "This is for all my boys here tonight and for all my boys back in New England," he said.
Hughes was named best Olympic Athlete for her surprising gold-medal performance in women's figure skating at the 2002 Winter Games.
"Everybody thinks we're just girls in pretty dresses who do twirls, but it's not easy to look graceful when you're doing triple-triples," said the 16-year-old Hughes.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.