Byrd Wins Rookie of the Year

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KAPALUA, Hawaii -- Jonathan Byrd was voted the 2002 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year. The 24-year-old former Clemson University All-American was one of only two freshmen to win on tour last season.
 
Byrd, Jonathan'It's an honor,' Byrd said while preparing Monday for this week's Mercedes Championships. 'I hope I can keep it up this year.'
 
Tiger Woods was voted PGA Tour Player of the Year, while Gene Sauers received Comeback Player of the Year honors.
 
Woods won five times on tour last year, including the Masters and U.S. Open. He also won his fourth straight money and scoring titles. He has won the Jack Nicklaus Award (for player of the year) five of the last six years.
 
The award is decided by a vote of the players. The PGA Tour does not reveal vote totals.
 
'It's always special to have the votes of the other players. I'm especially proud to have won this award four consecutive times,' said Woods. 'It's a great year when you win one major championship, so I was really pleased to win two in 2002 plus three other PGA Tour events.'
 
Hale Irwin was voted Champions Tour Player of the Year. At the age of 57, he became the first player to earn more than $3 million in one year on the 50-and-over circuit.
 
Morris Hatalsky was the elder tour's Rookie of the Year, while Hubert Green was the Comeback Player of the Year.
 
Patrick Moore, who won three times on the Buy.Com Tour in 2002, was the developmental tour's Player of the Year.
 
Unlike Byrd and Sauers, who earned his first PGA Tour win in 13 years at last season's Air Canada Championship, Woods in not in this week's Mercedes field. The world's No. 1-ranked player is out until February while recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery.
 
Byrd won the penultimate event a season ago, and was followed by fellow first-timer Luke Donald. Byrd finished 39th on the money list, edging out fellow rookies Peter Lonard (40th) and Pat Perez (41st). Donald won the Southern Farm Bureau Classic to finish 58th on the money list.