Tiger Woods was voted male player of the year by the Golf Writers Association of America yesterday by an overwhelming margin over Steve Stricker, with most ballots returned after he became embroiled in a sex scandal.
It was the 10th time Woods has won the award in his 13 years as a pro.
LPGA Tour rookie Jiyai Shin was voted female player of the year over Lorena Ochoa, while Loren Roberts won the senior player award.
Woods, forced out for 8 months with major knee surgery, returned to win six times on the PGA Tour. He captured the FedEx Cup, along with the PGA Tour money title and the Vardon Trophy for the lowest scoring average.
He received 168 votes (84 percent), while Stricker had 20 votes and PGA champion Y.E. Yang received 13 votes.
Voting for the GWAA awards began 3 days before news of Woods' traffic accident outside his Florida home, the first sign of trouble that led the world's No. 1 player to eventually admit to infidelity.
Just under half the ballots were cast before the Nov. 27 accident. Balloting closed at midnight on Dec. 11, the day Woods announced he was taking an indefinite leave from golf to work on saving his marriage. During the 2-week period, the voting trend did not change.
Shin won three times and was the LPGA rookie of the year. She had a chance to win the LPGA player of the year until Ochoa beat her by one point in a race that went down to the final round at the LPGA Tour Championship. Shin won the money title and was second in scoring.
She received 105 votes (52 percent) to 85 votes for Ochoa and 11 votes for Cristie Kerr.
Roberts' three victories included the Senior British Open at Sunningdale, and he won the Charles Schwab Cup for the second time in 3 years. He finished second on the money list behind Bernhard Langer, who won four times.
The players will be honored April 7 in Augusta, Ga., at the GWAA's annual awards dinner.
In related news, PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem held firm to his belief that golf will survive no matter how long Woods stays away. But he conceded that the Woods sex scandal was the biggest "curveball" he's ever faced.
"If Tiger is out for a couple of months or 8 months or a year, we're going to have a successful year," Finchem said. "It won't be at the same level without our No. 1 player, there's no question about that. No sport would be at the same level without its No. 1 player."
Finchem has been commissioner since 1994 and is used to Woods being the talk of golf.
Not like this, though. And not at a time when golf isn't even being played.
"I can't think of anything else that was more of a curveball," Finchem said during a break from TV interviews. "I've often said that up until [President Barack] Obama, he was the most recognized guy on the planet, and everybody thought he was perfect. The realization that he's not is huge news."