Tom Kite won't say golf's "M" word.

"It's a great start," Kite said after his one-stroke victory in the kickoff event on the PGA Tour, the Tournament of Champions."But that's all it is: a start. If '91 is to be as good as I think it can be, I have to keep pushing," the 41-year-old veteran said Sunday. "I'm determined to make this the best year I've ever had."

That's obviously a rather lofty goal for a man who has won a Player of the Year award, a couple of Vardon Trophies, a pair of money-winning crowns and ranks as the game's all-time money-winning leader.

So what, he was asked, would that "best year I've ever had" entail?

"If I can continue to play golf with the patience and control I had this week, that'd do it," Kite said.

"I have a lot of things I want to do. I want to win a lot of golf tournaments, as many as I can.

"Obviously," he said, "if you could pick your spots, you'd start at the top and work down from there."

And that, obviously, was a reference to golf's majors, the "M" word he won't say.

Kite has yet to win one of the game's Big Four - the Masters, U.S. and British Opens and the PGA. It's the only blank spot on an otherwise remarkable career.

Kite scored his second Tournament of Champions victory with a closing 69 - his fourth consecutive round in the 60's - and a 16-under-par 272 total, one ahead of Lanny Wadkins.

Wadkins, who had a last-round 68, took the lead with a birdie-birdie-birdie burst beginning on the 12th hole and Kite's bogey on the 14th. But Kite rebounded quickly, dropping a 20-foot birdie putt on the 16th and then moving in front to stay when the aggressive Wadkins three-putted from 18 feet.

In a separate but simultaneous competition for 1990 winners from the seniors tour, Bruce Crampton got up and down from five bunkers, shot 71 and won by four strokes with a 279 total.