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Woods Named Player of the Year

PGA Tour (75x100)PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- In one of the closest races in recent years, Tiger Woods again claimed the PGA Tour Player of the Year Award. Woods was selected over money-leader Vijay Singh for the honor.
Woods won the award for a record fifth consecutive year and for the sixth time in the last seven years. Tom Watson had captured the award four straight times from 1977 to 1980.
'Congratulations to Tiger for his sixth Player of the Year Award,' said PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem. 'And congratulations also to the other four players nominated who produced outstanding results during the 2003 season.'
Woods was major-less for the first time since the 1998 season, which was also the last time he did not win the money title.
Singh snapped Woods' reign atop the money list as he picked up a tour-record $7,573,907. The Fijian earned four wins on the season and posted 18 top-10 finishes in 27 starts. Singh's wins came at the Phoenix Open, Byron Nelson Classic, John Deere Classic and Funai Classic at Disney World.
Woods, who played in nine fewer tournaments than Singh, recorded 12 top-10s in 18 starts and won five times.
'Quite frankly, I would have been disappointed if I didn't win,' said Woods. 'Considering I had won five times this year.'
Woods also has several lengthy streaks going. He has made 114 consecutive cuts, breaking the record of the legendary golfer Byron Nelson. Also, he has been the No. 1 ranked player in the world for 226 straight weeks.
Woods is on pace to snap the all-time record of longest at No. 1 in the world set by Greg Norman. Woods has been atop the rankings for a total of 296 weeks, just 35 shy of Norman's all- time mark of 331 weeks.
While coming back from off-season knee surgery, Woods burst out of the gate by winning three of his first four events - the Buick Invitational, WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship and the Bay Hill Invitational. He later picked up titles at the Western Open and WGC-American Express Championship.
'Everything was OK physically, it was just the mental hurdle of getting out there and knowing I can swing like I used to without hurting myself,' Woods said. 'Last year I was feeling so much pain, I was altering my game.'
At the majors, Woods' best showing came at the British Open, where he tied for fourth. At the Masters, Woods barely survived the cut, then climbed to a tie for 15th.
Despite a second-round 66, Woods stumbled to a share of 20th at 3-over-par at the U.S. Open. At the PGA Championship, the season's final major, Woods was not a factor and never broke par en route to a 12-over-par 292.
He became the first person since Fred Couples in 1991 to win the Player of the Year Award without winning a major or capturing the money title.
'Everyone is basing my performance on what I did in 2000 and it is very hard to duplicate what I did that year,' said Woods. 'That was a very magical year. But this year, I won five times and two of them were World Golf Championships, so of the biggest tournaments in the world, at least I was able to get a couple of them.'
Also announced on Monday were the Rookie of the Year and Comeback Player of the Year Awards. British Open champion Ben Curtis was honored as the Rookie of the Year, while Peter Jacobsen garnered Comeback Player of the Year honors.
Curtis, playing in his first major at the British Open, was the only player to finish under par for the event. The victory vaulted him 361 spots in the Official World Golf Rankings, the single greatest jump since the rankings began in 1986. He ended the season 46th on the PGA money list with $1,434,911.
Jacobsen picked up his first win since 1995 when he titled at the Greater Hartford Open. Jacobsen, who becomes eligible for the Champions Tour when he turns 50 on March 4, earned a career-best $1,162,726 this season.