Professional golfer Tiger Woods, who earned his fifth victory in eight PGA tournaments this year when he won The Players Championship, and Jamaican sprinter Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who has run the fastest women’s 100-meters this year in the season opening track meet, were chosen as the United States Sports Academy’s May Athletes of the Month in worldwide online voting.
Woods ended a weekend of testy exchanges with Sergio Garcia by winning a tense duel over the final hour in The Players Championship at the TPC Sawgrass. Tied with Garcia with two holes to play, Woods won by finding land on the last two holes for par to close with a 2-under 70. It was Woods’ 78th career PGA Tour victory and his fifth of the season.
Meanwhile, Fraser-Pryce is off to a fast start in the Diamond League track season. The Jamaican, who is a two-time 100-meter Olympic gold medalist, won the women’s 100 at the opening meet in Doha, Qatar and in the second meet in Shanghai, China. Her winning time at the Shanghai race was 10.93 seconds—a world leading time. Fraser-Pryce also won the 200 meters in 22.48 seconds at the Qatar Sports Club.
The public is invited to participate in the worldwide Athlete of the Month nomination and ballot voting processes. Visit the Academy website at www.ussa.edu to submit your nominations each month, and then return to the website during the first two weeks of each month to vote for the male and female Athletes of the Month. The votes along with an Academy committee choose the winners who become candidates for the Athlete of the Year. The monthly and yearly winners are announced on the Academy’s website and in the sports university’s online edition of The Sport Update.
Finishing second in the men’s category was American Ryan Whiting, who got his track and field season off to a strong start May 10 by recording a meet record and world-leading mark in Doha, Qatar. Whiting, the 2012 World Indoor gold medalist, reached a new personal best to win the men’s shot put with a mark of 22.28 meters, or 73 feet, 1.25 inches. That mark was the top throw by an American since 2007.
The runner-up to Fraser-Pryce on the women’s ballot was University of Oklahoma pitcher Keilani Ricketts, who threw a no-hitter and had 12 strikeouts in the Sooners’ opening game of the Women’s College World Series. Ricketts, the Collegiate Softball Player of the Year for the second consecutive season, has thrown seven career no-hitters and six this season for national champion Oklahoma.
Third place winners for May were San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker, who stepped up his game in the post season, averaging 23.0 points per game to lead his team to the NBA finals; and Brittney Griner, who got two dunks in her professional debut with the Phoenix Mercury, becoming the first WNBA player to do it twice in one game.
Woods and Fraser-Pryce are now eligible for the Academy’s male and female 2013 Athlete of the Year Award. For the 29th consecutive year, the Academy will oversee the worldwide online voting that will take place in December. This prestigious award is currently done in conjunction with NBC Sports.
In 2012, the male Athlete of the Year was Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, who became the first man ever to win both the 100- and 200-meter races in successive Olympics. The female Athlete of the Year was American tennis player Serena Williams, who became the singles champion at Wimbledon, the U.S. Open and the Olympics. Both Olympians dominated 2012’s online ballot in December, which drew tens of thousands of votes a day from across the world.