<
>

Tiger captures player of year

The awards are starting to pile up for Tiger Woods again.

Woods has won the points-based award as player of the year from the PGA of America, which was virtually a lock when the FedEx Cup ended and became a mathematical fact this week. His six PGA Tour victories (10 points each) were twice as many as anyone else, and Woods already wrapped up the PGA Tour money list (20 points) and lowest adjusted scoring average (20 points).

It was the 10th time Woods has won the PGA award.

He also wins the Vardon Trophy from the PGA of America and the Byron Nelson Award from the PGA Tour for having the lowest adjusted scoring average at 68.05. It's the eighth time he has won the Vardon.

Woods wins the Arnold Palmer Award on the PGA Tour for winning the money title for the ninth time, earning just more than $10.5 million. Still to be decided is the Jack Nicklaus Trophy for the PGA Tour player of the year, which is a vote of the players. The other candidates likely will be Steve Stricker and Phil Mickelson, with three wins each, or perhaps Y.E. Yang, who won the PGA Championship and Honda Classic. None of the other major champions won more than once.

If Woods were to win PGA Tour player of the year, it would be only the fourth time since it began in 1990 that a player won the award without having won a major. Woods (2003), Greg Norman (1995) and Wayne Levi (1990) were the others.

The PGA Tour awards process began last week in Las Vegas with a Players Advisory Council meeting. The 16 members, along with four players on the policy board, can nominate up to five players each for player of the year and rookie of the year, and up to three players for comeback player of the year.

The five players and rookies with the most nominations go on the ballot.

How many for comeback player of the year?

That depends.

After Stricker won the comeback award for the second straight year in 2007, the PAC decided it would be OK to not have an award if there was not a reasonable candidate who came back from injury, off-course issues or a long stretch of poor play.

The question is whether Woods is a worthy candidate of comeback player of the year after missing half of last year with reconstructive knee surgery. Then again, Woods won four times in six starts last year, with the other finishes a runner-up and tie for fifth.

That prompted Stricker to dismiss Woods' comeback candidacy by saying, "Where did he go?"

The ballot, once determined after the final tournament, will be sent out to PGA Tour members, who have 30 days to vote.