Top-ranked Tiger Woods, who rebounded from major reconstructive knee surgery to win six times on tour in 2009, was named PGA Tour Player of the Year for the 10th time Friday in voting by his peers. He previously won the award in 1997, 1999-2003 and 2005-07.
Woods, who turns 34 on Dec. 30, competed in 17 events this year and recorded a PGA Tour-best 14 top-10 finishes. In addition to the six victories, he also posted three second-place showings. Woods also captured the FedExCup for the second time in three years.
He has now won four or more PGA Tour titles in a season 11 times since turning pro in 1996. Woods has amassed 71 career victories, third on the all-time list behind Sam Snead (82) and Jack Nicklaus (73).
Woods led the money list for the ninth time and won his eighth Vardon Trophy for the lowest scoring average at 68.05, the second-best mark of his career. In 2000, Woods averaged 67.79 shots per round.
His wins came at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Memorial Tournament, AT&T National, Buick Open, WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and BMW Championship. Woods also won the JBWere Masters in Australia.
The 2009 Challenge Tour season will be remembered chiefly for the sheer dominance of one man: Edoardo Molinari. From the very first event of the season, the Club Colombia Masters presentado por Samsung where he finished second behind winner Alan Wagner of Argentina, the Italian never once slipped out of the top five of the Challenge Tour Rankings.
Having ascended to the Number One position at the beginning of August on the back of another runner-up finish in the Scottish Hydro Challenge, this time behind home favourite Jamie McLeary, he never looked like loosening his grip on the top spot. Everyone else was merely playing for a place in the top 20 to guarantee a card for The 2010 European Tour International Schedule.
In between those two second places was his first Challenge Tour title of the season and first on home soil, in the Piemonte Open at Golf Club La Mandria in Turin, which he led from start to finish.
Finally, evidence of the growing strength in depth of the European Challenge Tour was provided by the fact that five players – Christoph Günther of Germany (Kärnten Golf Open presented by Markus Brier Foundation), Lee James of England (ALLIANZ Open Côtes d’Armor Bretagne), Alexandre Kaleka of France (ALLIANZ EurOpen de Lyon), Scotland’s Eric Ramsay (DHL Wroclaw Open) and Alan Wagner (Club Colombia Masters presentado por Samsung) – all won during 2009 but did not produce consistency enough elsewhere to finish in the top 20 of the Rankings. But with both time and talent on their side, another chance to take the step up to The European Tour will surely not be long in coming.
Te Puke Golf Club hosted the final pro-am of the year on the PGA of New Zealand Tour last Friday, and it was fitting that the runaway winner of the Order of Merit, Michael Hendry tied for first place with Richard Lee, who was second on the Order of Merit. Both players scored four under par rounds of 68, closely followed by Troy Ropiha on 69.
Ropiha was in turn third on the OOM and needed to finish in front of Lee to pass him for the year. It was not to be, but he can be well satisfied with his year, without a victory but showing great consistency.
Tiger Woods, one of the best golfers in the world, only weighs 180 pounds but he hits the ball 20 yards longer off the tee than the average tour player. If you're like most golfers, including those who have been playing for quite some time, you'd like to add yards to your tee shots, too. How does Tiger do it? Watch him and you'll see the same small, dark grass area next to his hips when he is at the top of his swing and at impact. Many amateur golfers make the mistake of pushing their hips toward the ball when they make their downswing. Tiger rotates his hips in making his downswing but he doesn't make the mistake of moving them toward the ball. There's something else Tiger does that you might want to follow. When he begins his downswing, he starts rotating his left forearm. With that action he begins to square the face and gradually release the clubhead. His swing is already halfway down when the uncocking of his wrists begins.