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Associated Press, Published December 16 2009

Tiger Woods voted top athlete of the decade

Even after a shocking sex scandal that tarnished Tiger Woods, it was tough to ignore what he achieved on the golf course.

He won 64 times around the world, including 12 majors, and hoisted a trophy on every continent golf is played. He lost only one time with the lead going into the final round. His 56 PGA Tour victories in one incomparable decade were more than anyone except four of golf’s greatest players won in their careers.

Woods was selected today as the Athlete of the Decade by members of The Associated Press in a vote that was more about 10 years of performance than nearly three weeks of salacious headlines.

Just like so many of his victories, it wasn’t much of a contest.

Woods received 56 of the 142 votes cast by AP member editors since last month. More than half of the ballots were returned after the Nov. 27 car accident outside his Florida home that set off sensational tales of infidelity.

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 (6) and sprinter Usain Bolt (4). Five other athletes received one vote apiece.