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Tiger Woods wins male athlete of the year

Even if Tiger Woodshad missed the cut at the U.S. Open for the first time in a major - his first tournament after his father died of cancer, he never finished worse than second in stroke play the rest of the season.

Phil Mickelson emerged anew as a serious threat to Tiger Woods' domain by winning his second straight major at the Masters. But Woods responded by winning the next two majors without breaking a sweat.

The only thing he couldn't answer was how he was voted AP Male Athlete of the Year. Tiger Woods won the award over San Diego Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson, with tennis great Roger Federer a distant third.

Tiger Woods was pleased to hear he had won the award, and he was perplexed it did not go to his good friend Federer, who continues to dominate tennis.

"What he's done in tennis, I think, is far greater than what I've done in golf," Woods said. "He's lost what ... five matches in three years? That's pretty good."

Woods received 260 points from sports editors around the country.

"Roger Federer is pretty sporty," Couples said. "Tomlinson is going to pound the record by I don't know how many TDs. It's all great. You would think if you're Roger Federer and you didn't win it this year, you don't know what else you could possibly do. But Tiger Woods ... it's not like he's not deserving. He's winning 55 per cent of the tournaments he plays. He's probably ahead of Shaq's free throw percentage."

Tiger Woods again made it look routine, winning at least eight PGA Tour events for the third time in his career and becoming the first player in history to capture multiple majors in consecutive seasons.

"Any time you're over 50 per cent winning in our sports, it's probably a good year," Tiger Woods said. "I know how hard it is. I know what it takes to get to that point. I hate to say it, but people in the media and fans don't understand how hard it is. Players do. The things players have said to me over the years, that means a lot."

To this day, Tiger Woods said he quickly turns off the tape of British Open highlights when he taps in his final putt.

On paper, the results looked familiar. In his heart, Woods said it was his toughest year, which he ultimately described as a loss because of his father's death.

For his peers, it left them at a loss for words.

"We're used to it," Davis Love III said. "People were trying to compare this year to 2000, but 2000 was surprising. Now it's like saying, 'Hey, there's a Ferrari. Oh, there's another Ferrari. There's another Ferrari.' It's an outstanding year, but it's not his only one. If I had a year
like his, they would say, 'What an incredible year.' For him, it's just another brilliant year.


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