Tiger's our unanimous POY choice

The PGA Tour has yet to announce its 2006 award winners, but our experts beat them to the punch, proffering their selections in six different year-end categories.

Wins at the British Open and PGA would have been enough. Adding six more victories makes Tiger Woods' season one of the best in PGA Tour history.

Tiger Woods seems like a given right now – and he is – but remember, halfway through the season he was well off the pace. Good thing the dude knows how to close.

Simply put, Tiger Woods had one of the five greatest years of all time, ranking with Bobby Jones in 1930 (Grand Slam), Byron Nelson in 1945 (18 wins, 11 in a row), Ben Hogan in 1953 (three-for-three in the majors and five wins in only six starts) and himself in 2000 (three majors, nine wins).

For Tiger Woods, an eight-win season that included two major championships and six straight victories nearly mimicked his 2000 dream season.

(non-Tiger division)

Despite Phil Mickelson's second-half flop, you can't ignore a Masters title, a 13-shot victory at the BellSouth and his near-miss at the U.S. Open.

With a win at the U.S. Open and another at the prestigious Accenture Match Play, give the nod to Geoff Ogilvy, who had a breakout season.

The European Ryder Cup team demolished the Americans and was clearly the better team from top to bottom. And along the way it demonstrated a key to victory the U.S. team seems to have forgotten – having fun!

Mickelson may have won the Masters, but Jim Furyk solidified his spot as the No. 2 player in the world with 13 top-10s, nine finishes in the top three, a pair of wins and just one finish outside the top 20 since mid-May.

Rookie of the Year

Trevor Immelman might not be a rookie in the true sense, but the tour's rules say he is; he had the best season and is knocking on the door of top 10 in the world.

With 42 previous career PGA Tour starts, Immelman shouldn't be considered a rookie. Give the award to Camilo Villegas, who did everything but win.

What Camilo Villegas accomplished as a competitor was solid enough, but he really earns this honor with what he accomplished as a personality, being the poster boy for bomb-and-gouge golf. Minimal success on the course will make the Colombian a huge star.

Villegas had two more top-10s and three more top-25s, but the one big difference between he and J.B. Holmes is that Holmes won and did so in just his fourth career start with a final-round 66 at the FBR.

Comeback player

He didn't even have status on the PGA Tour when the year began but Steve Stricker played well enough to earn his card and earn consideration for the U.S. Ryder Cup team.

How can it not be Steve Stricker? In only 17 starts as a nonmember, he earned seven top-10s, including at both majors he played.

Colin Montgomerie earns this based on a failure, oddly enough. But Monty's effort at Winged Foot, where he was in the U.S. Open until the last hole, demonstrated that he is still capable of winning a major championship.

After finishing 162nd on the money list in '05, Steve Stricker played this season on past champion status and recorded seven top-10s, including a runner-up at the Booz Allen and a third at Houston.

Most improved

People were talking about Ben Curtis as a fluke after winning the 2003 British Open, and he gave them good reason. But two victories this year made quite a statement.

From Q School to the Ryder Cup? It had never been done before. You can't improve much more than Brett Wetterich did this season.

It's really difficult to improve when you are as good as Jim Furyk already was, but in one season he passed Mickelson, Els, Goose, Singh and Garcia to become the clear No. 2 in the game. He will get a second major in 2007.

A year after making just eight of 24 cuts, Ben Curtis had two wins, two top-10s and seven top-25s on his way to $2.25 million in earnings in '06.

Most disappointing

We're not used to seeing Ernie Els go a full year without winning a tournament and struggling to make the Tour Championship.

John Daly is an easy choice, David Duval is an annual choice, but the pick here is Justin Leonard. Only two top-10s in 26 starts? What happened?

Not a PGA Tour member – in fact not a member of any tour – but the bloom faded from Michelle Wie's rose in 2006. She missed the cut by four strokes in the Sony Open, withdrew after 27 holes in the John Deere and was dead last at 84 Lumber. Will anyone care in 2007?

Ernie Els had eight top-10s and a playoff loss to Tiger in Dubai, but in the four majors Els was only a factor at the British Open, where he was in contention until a pair of 71s on the weekend resulted in a third-place finish.