Originally created 12/01/99

Overtime: Woods voted PGA player of year



This time, there was no debate. Tiger Woods was voted PGA Tour player of the year Tuesday after putting together the best season in more than 40 years.

The award is based on a vote of the players, and Woods left little room for argument by closing out the year with five victories in his last six events, including a major.

"I've had a good year, and I'm very proud of the way I played," Woods said. "It's a season I will remember for a long time, and one during which I learned a great deal. But in this game, you can't rest."

Carlos Franco, the 34-year-old who grew up dirt poor in Paraguay, was voted rookie of the year after winning twice and finishing 11th on the money list with more than $1.8 million.

Steve Pate who has had as many injuries as PGA Tour victories, was voted the comeback player of the year.

Woods previously won the PGA of America's player of the year award, which is based on points from victories, money, scoring average and top 10s. The PGA Tour's honor, called the Jack Nicklaus Award, is considered more prestigious because it is a vote of his peers.

His eight victories were the most since Johnny Miller won eight times in 1974, and Woods also won his second major at the PGA Championship. He became the first $6 million man, was No. 1 in the world ranking and won the Vardon Trophy for the lowest scoring average.

BASKETBALL: The Aiken Tech men are ranked No. 9 in the latest National Junior College Athletic Association Division II poll. The Knights, who are 7-0, play at Florida Community College in Jacksonville, Fla., on Friday. Their next home game is Dec. 7 against Oxford College.

BASEBALL: Jim Leyland wasn't out of work for long, signing a contract Tuesday to be a major league scout with the St. Louis Cardinals.

Leyland resigned as manager of Colorado Rockies at the end of the season, with two years to go on a three-year, $6 million contract, because he wanted to spend more time with his family.

Cardinals general manager Walt Jocketty said Leyland will scout mainly out of his home area in Pittsburgh, and will also track the American League from Cleveland and be available for special assignments.

Lenny Dykstra was cleared Tuesday of charges that he sexually harassed a 17-year-old female employee at a car wash he owns.

The former New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies outfielder faced misdemeanor charges of sexual battery and child annoyance after he was arrested Oct. 13 at the car wash in Simi Valley, Calif.

A motion brought by the Ventura County district attorney's office to dismiss charges was granted.

AUTO RACING: Tony Stewart, who had the best rookie season in Winston Cup history, took fourth-quarter honors in the Driver of the Year balloting.

In 1999, the 28-year-old Stewart became the first rookie in the history of NASCAR's top division to win three races in a season. He won all of them in the fourth quarter.

HOCKEY: Gordie Howe was recuperating Tuesday from surgery to remove a cancerous spot on his left shin. The 71-year-old Hockey Hall of Famer had surgery Monday at Toledo Hospital and was released.

"He went through the surgery extremely well," hospital spokeswoman Colleen Grubb said. "His prognosis is excellent."

Patients who have the surgery typically have a 10-day recuperation period. Howe's wife, Colleen, said Tuesday that her husband was in good spirits and was cracking jokes during the car ride from Toledo to their home in Sterling Heights, Mich.

BOXING: The condition of comatose boxer Stephan Johnson is continuing to deteriorate.

Manager Kenneth Woods said Tuesday that the 31-year-old boxer from Brooklyn has come down with pneumonia and is battling a fever that has reached 104 degrees. It was at 102 Tuesday, Woods said.

Johnson remained in critical condition and unconscious with a brain injury at Atlantic City (N.J.) Medical Center, where he was taken after being knocked out by Paul Vaden in a USBA junior middleweight fight Nov. 20.