Jim Furyk won the U.S. PGA Tour’s Player of the Year award, a title that had gone to Tiger Woods nine of the past 11 years.
Furyk, 40, was the only player with three victories on the world’s top golf circuit this season. The 2003 U.S. Open winner captured the Transitions Championship in March, the Verizon Heritage tournament in April and the season-ending Tour Championship in September, a victory that secured his first FedEx Cup points title.
Furyk became the third winner of the award in 12 years with fewer than five titles during the season. Padraig Harrington, the 2008 winner, captured the British Open and PGA Championship that year. Mark O’Meara won the Masters Tournament and British Open when he earned the honor in 1998.
“Three wins might not look good against what Phil or Tiger or Vijay have done maybe in the past, but that was more wins than anyone else had last year,” Furyk said at a press conference Dec. 1 at the Chevron World Challenge event in Thousand Oaks, California.
It’s also the second straight year the Player of the Year title went to a golfer who didn’t win a major title that season. Woods was the 2009 recipient, with no majors among six victories.
Second on Money List
Furyk was asked during the press conference Dec. 1 if Woods’s poor performance took some of the shine off winning the award.
“Everyone on January 1 had the same opportunity to go out and play well as I did,” he said. “I realize Tiger wasn’t his best. He had other things off the course. But I’m not going to feel badly. There wouldn’t be in asterisk in my mind.”
Furyk, a 16-year PGA Tour veteran, finished second behind Matt Kuchar on the money list with $4.8 million over 21 events. Kuchar earned $4.9 million in 26 tournaments. Furyk ranked fifth with a 69.83 scoring average and had seven top-10 finishes.
Ballots for the award went out to PGA Tour players in mid-November after the Children’s Miracle Network Classic, the season’s final official event. Vote totals weren’t disclosed in a statement released by the Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida-based Tour, the world’s richest golf circuit.
Woods failed to win a tournament this season for the first time since 1996 and lost the No. 1 spot in the Official World Golf Ranking that he had held for a record 281 straight weeks.
He spent the first three months of the season in self-imposed exile from golf after acknowledging that he repeatedly cheated on his wife, revelations that were sparked by a one-vehicle accident in the early morning of Nov. 27, 2009, that left him slightly injured. Woods and his wife of five years, Elin Nordegren, announced their divorce in August.
Woods is hosting this week’s Chevron World Challenge exhibition event at the Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, California. Furyk is the defending champion.