New York:Reaction was mixed to the news that Tiger Woods was selected on Wednesday as Athlete of the Decade by US Sports editors, a result that reflects 10 years of triumphs on the golf course rather than three weeks of headlines about a shocking sex scandal.
Just like so many of his 64 victories worldwide and 12 majors dating back to 2000, it wasn't much of a contest.
Woods received 56 of the 142 votes cast by AP member editors. More than half of the ballots were returned after his November 27 car accident which set off the sensational tales of infidelity that have tarnished Woods' image.
Few other athletes have changed their sport quite like Tiger Woods.
His influence has been so powerful that TV ratings spiked whenever he played, even more when he has been in contention. Prize money has quadrupled since he joined the PGA Tour because of his broad appeal.
A new image emerged quickly in the days following his middle-of-the-night accident, when he ran his SUV (sports utility vehicle) over a fire hydrant and into a tree. He became the butt of late-night TV jokes, eventually confessed that he "let my family down" with "transgressions" and lost a major sponsorship from Accenture. Even so, AP members found his work on the golf course over the last 10 years without much of a blemish.
Woods took an early lead in balloting, and continued to receive roughly the same percentage of votes throughout the process.
But some hearing the news for the first time in New York's Times Square questioned the AP member editors' choice.
"For what he did, I don't think he deserved that. At all," said New Yorker Taneka Barron.
"Probably before Thanksgiving Day, I would have said 'yes,' (he deserves the distinction). Now, as a woman, I would say 'no', not because of his athletic ability, but what he's done in his personal life," Sara Wolven said.
Others, however, were more sympathetic to the golf phenomenon, insisting personal crises have nothing to do with his incredible athletic abilities.
"Tiger Woods does deserve it," said New Yorker Alex Kimel. "When he gets on the field he performs. So anything happens besides that, that's outside of the business, just like steroids and everything else."
Veronica Quinones echoed those sentiments.
"You can't deny what he has accomplished for minorities as well as everyone else... He made a mistake. President Clinton did it, got away with it," she said.
Some did not think a golfer was a worthy recipient of the prize but don't tell that to those hitting golf balls outside Dallas, Texas.
They believe the AP member editors made the perfect choice.
"I think it's an appropriate choice," said golf enthusiast Ricky Diaz. "I really think he's dominated his sport, you know, there's not very many people that can do what he has done. So I think it's the right choice."
Other notable athletes of the decade... Lance Armstrong, a cancer survivor who won the Tour de France six times this decade, finished second with 33 votes.
He was followed by Roger Federer, who won more Grand Slam singles titles than any other man, with 25 votes.
Record-setting Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps came in fourth with 13 votes, followed by New England quarterback Tom Brady with 6.
Woods, who has not been seen since the accident and has issued only three statements on his Web site, was not made available to comment about the award.