By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
Tiger Woods took PGA TOUR honors. Henrik Stenson was the choice of the European Tour.
But if there was a worldwide player of the year chosen for 2014 Stenson likely would have gotten the nod in voting of his peers.
The Swede is the first player to win the FedExCup on the PGA TOUR and the Race to Dubai in Europe. Stenson did it was dramatic flair, too -- winning the season-ending events on both sides of the Atlantic, the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola and the DP World Tour Championship.
"For me the way he played golf the back end of the year was simply sensational," Ian Poulter said. "His consistency was incredible. He delivered when he needed to deliver.
"He had done it at the FedExCup and he had done it in Dubai, and to win both those events when he had to, very impressive to me."
Lee Westwood, who will team with his good friend Poulter at the Franklin Templeton Shootout this week, could see the case for both Stenson and Woods, who won five times in his first 11 events of the season.
"Maybe it's not fair to say Henrik was the Player of the Year because in the first part of the year he didn't do so much but the second part of the year he exploded, but Tiger was dominant in the first part of the year and then the second part of the year, although he probably didn't play that much, he didn't seem to win that much, either," Westwood said.
"It's been a strange year, it's almost been a year of two halves."
Sean O'Hair, who teams with Kenny Perry -- recently names the Champions Tour Player of the Year -- to defend their title at the Franklin Templeton Shootout, says it's hard to argue against Woods. But Stenson would get his vote for the POY if golf around the globe was taken into account.
"It's kind of hard to argue that he got Player of the Year," O'Hair said of Woods. "My opinion is I don't really think you have to, but you look at what Stenson did worldwide after winning the FedEx and then winning the European Race to Dubai, that's incredible and that is extremely hard to do.
"I think as far as world Tours is concerned, I think Stenson was well-deserving of the Player of the Year for all tours. The year that he had is just incredible, very similar to Luke Donald winning both Orders of Merit and the money list. That's my opinion."
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
Zach Johnson's victory Sunday at the Northwestern Mutual World Challenge was his second of the year and while it was an unofficial event, the world ranking points that went with it were indeed very official.
Johnson moved into the top 10 (No. 9 to be exact) in the Official World Golf Rankings for the first time in his career on Monday.
"I'm proud of that," he said after beating Tiger Woods in a sudden-death playoff. "I feel like I am a product of the guys that have helped me.
"I know I've got something inside of me that drives me. I love the competition. I love being in difficult situations and having to execute and that sort of thing. I like getting after it. I've always liked that."
Trailing by four to the world's top-ranked player with eight holes to play, Johnson had to get after it, alright.
Johnson finished par-birdie-birdie-par, the last of those pars of course coming when he holed out from the drop zone on the 18th to ultimately force extra holes with Woods.
You could argue that few if any players get more out of themselves than the 5-foot-11, 160-pound Johnson. But he also knows his game as well as anyone and that self-awareness has carried Johnson a long way -- he has as many wins on the PGA TOUR as Adam Scott, Larry Nelson and Fuzzy Zoeller, to name a few.
"I may not be as talented in some regards, but I know what my talent is," Johnson said, referring to Woods. "I know my limitations and I feel like I know my game. If it's good enough that week, that day, then great. If it's not, I'll just keep working."
Part of that work includes getting together with the team around him in late October or early November. Because of his schedule, however, Johnson didn't have that meeting until just before the World Challenge.
"We were just trying to get ready for next year," Johnson said, who added that he's still adjusting to the new irons he has in his bag.
"I don't know if it's much of a silly season anymore. But it's set up just like an old TOUR event, so it gets me ready for January."
Tiger Woods responded to this shot by getting up-and-down from a greenside bunker for his own par to force a playoff. Click here to watch Tiger's clutch par.
Tiger Woods is among 12 men nominated for the United States Sports Academy's Athlete of the Year.
On-line voting for the male and female award winners continues until midnight Friday, Dec. 20. Click here to cast your vote.
Woods, who won five times on the PGA TOUR in 2013, is joined on the ballot by last year's winner, track star Usain Bolt, Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, cyclist Chris Froome, Miami Heat forward LeBron James, marathoner Wilson Kipsang, skier Todd Ligety, soccer standout Lionel Messi, tennis star Rafael Nadal, Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz, boxer Manny Pacquiao and gymnast Kohei Uchimura.
Tennis star Serena Williams, who won last year's women's award, returns to the 2013 ballot along with LPGA standouts Inbee Park and Suzann Pettersen, as well as gymnast Simone Boles, swimmer Missy Franklin, sprinter Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, WNBA standout Maya Moore, hurdler Brianna Rollins, skier Mikaela Shiffrin, soccer star Abby Wambach and figure skater Kim Yuna.
The Athlete of the Year ballot is the culmination of the Academy’s year-long Athlete of the Month program, which recognizes the accomplishments of men and women in sports around the globe. Each month, the worldwide online votes along with the Academy’s selection committee choose the male and female winners.
The Academy, in conjunction with NBC Sports, will announce the 2013 Athletes of the Year on Wednesday, Dec. 25.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. -- Whether Tiger Woods wins this week's Northwestern Mutual World Challenge or not, Sunday will be a bittersweet day for him.
After 14 years, his annual limited-field event is moving from Sherwood Country Club near where he grew up in Southern California to Isleworth Golf & Country Club near Orlando.
"It is going to be emotional," Woods said Wednesday. "Sherwood, the board here, all the volunteers that come out and support us in sunshine or rain, wind, cold or perfect sunny So Cal days. They come out to support our event and have made this event as special as it has been.
"Most golf tournaments don't stay at one golf course for that long. I foresee certainly an emotional Sunday for sure."
It's also a sign of the times.
After going without a title sponsor in 2012, Northwestern Mutual signed a one-year deal for this year's tournament.
Going forward, the Tavistock Group will be part of the picture -- Woods has been a longtime friend of its Joe Lewis.
Throw in a packed golf calendar and the decision was all but made for the tournament's host.
"It's harder to get good players to play, quite frankly," Woods said. "And sponsorship dollars are certainly not exactly easy to come by in these economic times. So it made sense for us to move.
"It was certainly not an easy decision. But there are a lot of players that are based there in Florida. It will be a little easier for the guys to make a trek out instead of coming all the way out here, to stay right there in Florida."
As for Woods, this will be his final start of 2013.
While he won five times and was named Player of the Year on the PGA TOUR, he failed to win a major championship for a fifth straight season.
"I certainly wish I could have played a little better in major championships," Woods admitted. "I was there at the Masters and there at the British certainly with a chance, but just didn't get it done. The other two I just didn't play well. But winning THE PLAYERS Championship and then obviously four other events, I think it's a pretty good year.
"I feel like I've improved this year than I did over the previous year. I'm very pleased at the overall year."
By PGATOUR.COM staff
Looks like Jason Dufner will have a wee bit of a conflict when he tees off in the third round of the Northwestern Mutual World Challenge.
That's because his third-ranked Auburn Tigers battle No. 5 Missouri for the SEC title on Saturday -- and the kickoff is scheduled for 4 p.m. ET. The third round at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, Calif., is scheduled to end at 6 p.m. ET.
In fact, Dufner even took to Twitter in an attempt to resolve his dilemma.
Dear Mr @TigerWoods I petition the event this week to play 36 holes Thurs and Friday,so I can watch my beloved Auburn play for SEC champ thx— Jason Dufner (@JasonDufner) December 2, 2013
About three hours later, Woods tweeted: @Jason Dufner Petition denied.
Of course, Woods, who hosts the Northwestern Mutual World Challenge, also has a team playing for a conference championship on Saturday. But his Stanford Cardinal, ranked seventh, plays No. 11 Arizona State at 7:45 p.m. ET so he'll have plenty of time to get in front of the TV.
Dufner isn't the only War Eagle product on TOUR -- Will Claxton, Lee Williams and Gary Christian also went to Auburn but they control their own schedules this weekend. Ditto for Alex Aragon, who is the other former Stanford golfer on TOUR.
There are nine former Arizona State golfers on TOUR -- Phil Mickelson, Pat Perez, Billy Mayfair, Ricky Barnes, Paul Casey, Chez Reavie, Joey Snyder III, Matt Jones and Benjamin Alvarado. None are playing at Sherwood this year.
Perez even had a solution for Dufner, the reigning PGA champ: @JasonDufner @TigerWoods. You gotta play worse Duf during the year so you have time off like me to watch all the good stuff
Meanwhile, surprising Duke faces an uphill battle in its Atlantic Coast Conference championship game against undefeated and top-ranked Florida State at 8 p.m. ET. Duke grads Joe Ogilvie, Kevin Streelman and Wes Roach represent the Blue Devils on TOUR while Jonas Blixt and George McNeill represent the Seminoles.
Nick Watney and Kevin Sutherland will have a vested interest in No. 23 Fresno State's game with Utah State at 10 p.m. ET to decide the Mountain West Conference title, as well. Both played for the Bulldogs.
By PGATOUR.COM staff
As you might expect from a tournament hosted by the game's No. 1 player, Tiger Woods, the Northwestern Mutual World Challenge features an star-studded cast.
There are 18 players competing at Sherwood Country Club this week in the 15th renewal of the event. Among the past champions in the field are five-time champion Tiger Woods and two-time winner Graeme McDowell, who defends his title.
Want to watch? Competition will be live on the Golf Channel from 3-6 p.m. ET on Thursday and Friday and 3-6 p.m. ET on NBC on Saturday and Sunday.
In the meantime, here's a look at the the field by the numbers:
>>> 10 of the top 20 players in the 2013 FedExCup standings
>>> Ten of the 18 competitors in this week’s field have at least one major championship title to their resume.
>>> 10 of the 12 players from the 2013 U.S. Presidents Cup Team
>>> 2013 PGA TOUR Player of the Year Tiger Woods
>>> 2013 PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year Jordan Spieth
>>> 2013 PGA Championship winner Jason Dufner
>>> Rory McIlroy, winner of last week’s Emirates Australian Open, his first title of 2013
The complete field features: Keegan Bradley, Jason Day, Jason Dufner, Jim Furyk, Bill Haas, Dustin Johnson, Zach Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Hunter Mahan, McDowell, McIlroy, Ian Poulter, Webb Simpson, Spieth, Steve Stricker, Bubba Watson, Lee Westwood and Woods.