Tiger Woods capped a season in which he won five times -- but failed for the fifth straight year to grab his 15th major -- by winning the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year award.
To no one’s shock, commissioner Tim Finchem pronounced Woods this year’s top golfer and tapped Jordan Spieth as the tour’s 2013 Rookie of the Year.
"I don’t think much surprise here: Tiger Woods has been voted by his peers as the best player of 2013," Finchem said. "This is the 11th time Tiger Woods has been voted PGA Tour Player of the Year. He won five times this year ... Just a terrific year all the way around."
Woods triumphed three more times than his most direct challengers, Adam Scott, who won the Masters in April, and British Open champion Phil Mickelson. Tiger’s peers, who cast their ballots in private, judged those five victories worthier of top player honors than Scott’s and Mickelson’s two wins each.
Woods, who congratulated Spieth for his stellar tour debut, was pleased to receive his 11th PoY trophy and first since 2009.
"It's been an incredible year to have won five times," Woods said. "It's been just a fantastic year all around and it's an incredible feeling to be voted by your peers. It's something that's very humbling."
Woods had a rough finish to his 2013 campaign, which, in addition to his multiple Ws, was marked by a series of controversial penalties. He finished no higher than fourth in any of the four grand slam events (T4 at the Masters), but the 14-time major titleholder toppled Rory McIlroy from the top of the world rankings in March and retained his No. 1 spot for the remainder of the season.
Woods earned the tour’s money title, depositing more than $8.5 million from tourney purses into his bank account, recorded the lowest adjusted scoring average (68.98) and captured the PGA of America’s points-based Player of the Year award earlier in the week.
The owner of 79 career tour wins -- second only to Sam Snead’s 82 -- finished in the top 10 eight times over the course of 2013 and entered the season-ending FedExCup finale, the Tour Championship, as the top seed. He ended up in a tie for 22nd in the 30-player field at East Lake and is still chasing that elusive 15th major, but had already proclaimed his season a success.
"This year's been a great year so far," Woods said ahead of The Barclays in August. "I've won at two of my favorite venues [Torrey Pines and Bay Hill], plus winning two World Golf Championships and a Players [Championship] in there. It's been pretty good."
Voters clearly agreed.
FedExCup winner Henrik Stenson and Matt Kuchar were the tour's other PoY nominees.
Despite what appeared to be a close race for PoY (the tour does not announce vote count, only results), there was really no contest for this year’s top rookie. The 20-year-old Spieth made his tour debut with no playing status and closed out a dream-like season tied for second in the year-ending Tour Championship.
Spieth, who will make his first Presidents Cup start next week for U.S. captain Fred Couples, notched a victory at the John Deere Classic and tied for the most top-10 finishes in the league with nine.
"It’s just a tremendous honor. It was a great year for rookies on the PGA Tour," said Spieth, who closed out his spectacular rookie season with a seventh-place finish in the FedExCup standings. "It's just a great feeling. Really looking forward to next week and congrats to Tiger on Player of the Year."
Spieth also finished 10th on the money list, banking more than $3.8 million, and put an exclamation point on his year with a six-under 64 in Sunday’s final round of the Tour Championship. The University of Texas grad beat out Derek Ernst, Russell Henley, and David Lingmerth for rookie honors.