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Woods named PGA Player of Year on same day another sponsor backs off

Photo by GURINDER OSAN

Photo by GURINDER OSAN

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Tiger Woods was voted the PGA Tour player of the year by the players on Friday, the 10th time in his 13 years on tour that he has won the award.

The PGA Tour does not disclose vote totals.

Woods started and finished the season the same way -- with questions when he would return. He was coming off knee surgery at the beginning of the year, and last week announced an indefinite leave to work on his marriage after admitting to infidelity.

In between, he won six PGA Tour events, captured the FedEx Cup and its $10 million bonus, won the money title for the ninth time in his career with over $10.5 million, and had the lowest scoring average for the ninth time.

No one else won more than three times on the PGA Tour. It was only the second time that Woods was voted player of the year when he did not win a major. In a peculiar twist, Woods won in his final start before each of the four majors.

Marc Leishman of Australia was voted PGA Tour rookie of the year, becoming the first since Charles Howell III in 2001 to win the award without having won a tournament. Leishman was the only rookie to reach the FedEx Cup finale at the Tour Championship.

Players voted on the awards over the last month, with balloting ending Friday.

It was the eighth time that Woods has swept all the major PGA Tour honors -- Byron Nelson Award for the lowest adjusted scoring average (68.05), Arnold Palmer Award for the money title and Jack Nicklaus Award for player of the year.

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TAG HEUER BACKS OFF TIGER:

Swiss watch maker Tag Heuer says it will not use Tiger Woods' image in advertising campaigns in the United States for the foreseeable future.

Tag Heuer CEO Jean-Christophe Babin told Swiss daily Le Matin on Friday that the company was reacting to "recent events" surrounding the golfer.

"We recognize Tiger Woods as a great sportsman but we have to take account of the sensitivity of some consumers in relation to recent events," Babin was quoted saying.

Woods has taken an indefinite leave from golf to work on repairing his marriage after numerous allegations of infidelities.

The newspaper said Tag Heuer will continue to support Woods' charitable foundation but will use other brand ambassadors in U.S. ads, including actor Leonardo Di Caprio.

The watch maker could not immediately be reached for comment because the story was released on the newspaper's Web site after Tag Heuer's headquarters at La Chaux-de-Fonds closed for the holidays until Jan. 4. The full interview was to be published in Saturday's editions of Le Matin.

Tag Heuer joins other sponsors in backing away from Woods as his image has taken a beating since a Thanksgiving holiday car accident at the golfer's Florida home was followed by an admission of extramarital "transgressions."

Consulting firm Accenture dropped him as its representative last weekend, and Gillette said it would stop airing his ads for their razors.

Tag Heuer initially said Monday it would stand by Woods, but moderated its support later that day by saying it would assess its relationship with the world's highest-earning athlete.