JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Thank you.
COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: This is the Arnold Palmer award. We thought we'd take this opportunity at THE PLAYERS Championship to present it to Vijay.
First of all, the Arnold Palmer award is presented each year to the player who is our leading money winner. And because the money list is the basis for eligibility, it is a major indicator of performance at every level, from one to two hundred plus, during the course of the year.
What was delightful about last year, there were several things, but one was the focus that Vijay put into seeking this award, the extra energy, if there's any left after his practice sessions, that he put into going after playing a couple of additional events. And we're delighted to be able to present it to him today.
His accomplishments last year were significant, he won $7 and a half million in prize money. He won a career high four tournaments. He finished in the top ten, 18 times in 27 starts. In fact, part of that was the start of that streak that extended into this year of 7 straight top tens in a row. And to win this award you have to play and you have to be consistent, and that's what Vijay was in 2003.
But beyond his performance, there are three other things that strike me that I think are important about this recognition for Vijay. One is those of us who live around here know about his work ethic, and you hear about it sometimes and people comment about it. It is a significant work ethic. This man works hard every day of the year to compete on this Tour. He puts everything he has into it. So anytime you see that, you've got to be happy when you see success.
The second thing is that Vijay, being a resident of Ponte Vedra, we all know him as a person, we know the kind of gentleman he is, we know the kind of student of the game he is. He is a very special individual.
And then thirdly, what he did by winning this award, winning the money list, he created a real race for Player of the Year honors. And from a PGA TOUR perspective that was terrific, because what it did -- I was just over talking to the tournaments, and it really extended the interest in our season last year by about two months. You all were focused on it, the fans were focused on it into December. And I really think that had a big impact on creating the interest on what has turned out to be a really good start this year.
In your performance you've had a tremendous impact. I'm delighted to see you have this kind of success. And I'm pleased that you're going to take this home and put it in your trophy case. Vijay Singh, congratulations.
VIJAY SINGH: Thanks, Tim, for all those kind words. It's an honor for me to win this. I know I never thought I was going to win the money title in the States, especially at my age. But now since I won it once, hopefully I can do it again next year, the same thing.
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