Woods wins Player of the Year, Spieth takes Rookie of the Year honors
Tiger Woods proved once again that winning really does take care of everything.
In a teleconference early Friday, Woods was named the 2013 PGA Tour Player of the Year. His five victories in 2013 were good enough to earn him the honor for the 11th time in his career.
Jordan Spieth, who turned 20 in July, was selected as the Rookie of the Year winner.
The PGA Tour's Player of the Year award is voted on by the players, and after Woods was involved in a few high-profile rules dustups, there was talk that perhaps he had begun to lose the admiration of his peers. Although Woods made headlines for an improper drop at the Masters and was penalized two strokes when his ball moved at the BMW Championship, his five Tour wins were three more than Matt Kuchar, Phil Mickelson, Adam Scott and Henrik Stenson.
"There were a lot of people who said I could never win again, and two years later, I've got eight wins on Tour," Woods said. "It just makes it all the more rewarding."
Though none of his wins came at a major -- unlike Mickelson (British Open) and Scott (The Masters) -- and he didn't win the $10 million first prize bonus in the FedEx Cup (Stenson), Woods was nevertheless the clear POY favorite. He collected trophies at some of his favorite courses, including the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines -- becoming the first player in Tour history to win on the same course eight times -- the WGC-Cadillac at Doral, the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill, the Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass and the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone South.
He was also awarded his ninth career Vardon Trophy for lowest adjusted scoring average and was named the PGA of America's Player of the Year for the 11th time. Woods rang up eight top-10 finishes, never missed a cut and banked $8.5 million in 16 starts.
The Player of the Year award was in doubt, though, all through the FedEx Cup playoffs, where Stenson won twice (Deutsche Bank, Tour Championship), Scott won once (Barclays), and Mickelson was thought to need one more victory to wrap up POY honors for the first time.
Spieth, who started the year on the Web.com Tour, laughed recently about having to play in a qualifier the week before the Monday qualifier to get into the Farmers at Torrey. Not only did he play his way onto the PGA Tour, he won the John Deere Classic and earned a captain's selection on the U.S. Presidents Cup team while jumping up to No. 21 in the World Rankings after beginning the year at No. 810. Spieth's season also included three runner-up finishes and nine top-10s, tying Brandt Snedeker and Bill Haas for the most on Tour.
The 20-year-old from the University of Texas became the first player to begin the season with no status and qualify for the Tour Championship since Tiger Woods did it in 1996.
"He did have a wonderful college career, and he came out with some success," Woods said. "If you build momentum, you can gain confidence and it will snowball. He just kept getting better and better. I think the inner belief in one's self is key, and I think Jordan demonstrates that."
Both winners will represent the U.S. in next week's Presidents Cup at Muirfield Village Golf Club.