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Tiger Woods becomes all-time ESPY leader  

Darren Rovell

LAS VEGAS – Tiger Woods just might need a new wing in his house for his ESPYs.

That's because Woods left the ninth annual ESPY Awards show at the MGM Grand with a one-year record of four ESPYs, which stands for Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly.

Tiger Woods
Woods was all smiles Monday night.
"I think I was very fortunate to have the year I had and it's kind of neat to be able to win all the things I've been able to win," said Woods. "But I'm sure I can find some place to put these trophies."

Woods' final award of the night, Male Athlete of the Year, gave him the career ESPY record of 11 – topping Michael Jordan's 10 awards. Woods also won in three other categories: Come From Behind Performance of the Year, Golfer of the Year and Championship Performance of the Year.

Olympic track star Marion Jones picked up three ESPYs, including Female Athlete of the Year, U.S. Female Olympic Athlete of the Year and Women's Track and Field Athlete of the Year. Jones has won the latter award for four consecutive years and now owns six ESPYs.

"It's pretty exciting to win these awards," said Jones. "I've been in a number of extraordinary situations over the past couple of months and, without a doubt, the Olympics ranks tops on my list.

"But when you can just look around the room, like tonight, and see some of the athletes like Tiger Woods sitting to the right, Ray Lewis sitting behind me, Derek Jeter sitting to my left, and then win three awards. This all blows my mind."

ESPY Award Winners
Male Athlete: Tiger Woods
Team: New York Yankees
Female Athlete: Marion Jones
Championship Performance: Tiger Woods
Most Spectacular Play: Antonio Freeman
Most Memorable Moment: Cathy Freeman
Male U.S. Athlete: Rulon Gardner
Female U.S. Athlete: Marion Jones
Come From Behind Performance: Tiger Woods
Coach/Manager: Joe Torre
Men's Pro Basketball Player: Shaquille O'Neal
Women's Tennis Player: Venus Williams
Men's Tennis Player: Pete Sampras
Pro Football Player: Marshall Faulk
Baseball Player: Pedro Martinez
Breakthrough Athlete: Daunte Culpepper
Men's College Basketball Player: Kenyon Martin
Women's College Basketball Player: Tamika Catchings
Comeback Athlete: Andres Galarraga
Record-breaking Performance: Pete Sampras
Hockey Player: Chris Pronger
Soccer Player: Mia Hamm
College Football Player: Chris Weinke
Women's Pro Basketball Player: Sheryl Swoopes
Driver: Bobby Labonte
Boxer: Felix Trinidad
Bowler: Walter Ray Williams, Jr.
Men's Golfer: Tiger Woods
Women's Golfer: Karrie Webb
College Team: Oklahoma Sooners
Jockey: Kent Desormeaux
Men's Track and Field Athlete: Maurice Greene
Women's Track and Field Athlete: Marion Jones
Action Sports Athlete: Shaun Palmer

An emotional Pete Sampras accepted the award for Record Breaking Performance of the Year, which he won for his record 13 grand slam titles. His nine ESPYs rank third all-time, behind Woods and Jordan.

Yankees manager Joe Torre once again won Manager of the Year and his Yankees beat out the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens to win Team of the Year for the third time in five years.

"This is the team ESPY," Torre said. "This gets turned over to Mr. Steinbrenner and we've got a cluttered shelf over there."

When asked which trophy weighed more, the ESPY or the Championship trophy, Torre said that "it's actually comparable. This is a lot heavier than the ESPYs of the past."

Jack Nicklaus, winner of 71 golf tournaments including 18 majors, won the first ESPY Lifetime Achievement Award.

Nicklaus, who received a one-minute standing ovation, talked about his dedication to family before his dedication to the game and joked about the lifetime part of the achievement award.

"This is one of those good dreams and bad dreams stories," Nicklaus said. "I'm assuming you have to truly live a lifetime to get this. But I'm not that old yet, hopefully I got a few more years."

Australian track and field star Cathy Freeman, who won the gold in the 400 meters in the Olympics, won the Most Memorable Moment of the Year and the Arthur Ashe Courage and Humanitarian Award -- given annually to an individual whose contributions transcend sports.

"It's with great pride and pleasure that I accept this," said Freeman of her Courage and Humanitarian award. "It fills me with both personal and national pride to realize that someone out there, perhaps now in Australia, someone is saying if Cathy can do it, I can do it."

Others winners included Marshall Faulk for Pro Football Player of the Year, Pedro Martinez for Baseball Player of the Year and Shaquille O'Neal for Pro Basketball Player of the Year.

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