Singh ends Woods' five-year POY reign

Updated: December 6, 2004, 12:21 PM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Vijay Singh won the PGA Tour Player of the Year award Monday for the first time, ending Tiger Woods' five-year hold on the honor with a season that left no debate about who was No. 1 in golf.

Vijay Singh

Singh captured the PGA Championship among his nine victories and became the first player to surpass $10 million in one season. No one else won more than three times, and his earnings were nearly twice as much as Ernie Els'.

Singh earlier won the PGA of America Player of the Year, which is determined by points. He also captured his first Vardon Trophy for having the lowest scoring average, and his second straight money title.

The PGA Tour award is determined by a vote of the players. Singh thought he should have won it last year, when he won four times and was No. 1 on the money list. Woods, who had five victories last year, won the award by a close vote.

That motivated Singh to work harder than ever, and it paid off beyond his wildest dreams.

"My thought this year was to play hard and play good for the whole season," Singh said. "That was a fulfilling thing. I didn't have to wait for the votes."

The tour does not release the votes.

Singh won six of his last nine tournaments, including the PGA Championship for his third major. Perhaps the most important victory was the Deutsche Bank Championship outside Boston, where the Fijian beat Woods in a final-round duel to become No. 1 in the world ranking.

Singh is the first non-American player to win the award since Greg Norman in 1995.

British Open champion Todd Hamilton was voted PGA Tour Rookie of the Year. Hamilton, 39, who spent a dozen years on the Asian tours until earning his PGA Tour card, won the Honda Classic with a birdie-birdie finish, then beat Els in a four-hole playoff at Royal Troon.

John Daly, whose victory at the Buick Invitational was his first on U.S. soil in 10 years, was voted PGA Tour Comeback Player of the Year.

Craig Stadler was Champions Tour Player of the Year, while Mark McNulty was the Champions Rookie of the Year, and Hubert Green was the Comeback Player of the Year after returning from cancer.

Jimmy Walker was Nationwide Tour Player of the Year.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press