It's certainly possible that no athlete scored more often in the last 10 years than Tiger Woods, but the timing of the golf superstar being named Athlete of the Decade by sportswriters might seem odd given his current troubles.
Woods, whose personal life is in turmoil as the tally of alleged mistresses mounts, got the nod over six-time Tour de France winner and cancer survivor Lance Armstrong, tennis great Roger Federer and Olympic gold medal collector Michael Phelps. Yet, what were members of The Associated Press to do, set aside the achievements of nine years and 10 months just because he ran off the cart path and into a ditch? Well, maybe. Here's some of the reaction:
- "The cad of the year has just been named Athlete of the Decade," wrote the New York Post's Leonard Greene, who did not have a vote. "Any other time, even a month earlier, the honor would have been another jewel in the King of Golf’s crown," but now it is just an "ignominious victory."
- "The only reason I wouldn't vote for Tiger Woods is because of the events of the last three weeks," said Mike Strain, sports editor of the Tulsa World. "And I didn't think that was enough to change my vote. I thought he was a transcendent sports figure."
- "I'm not sure I would change my vote," said Seattle Times sportswriter Don Shelton, who cast his vote just as the scandal started to break. "I looked at him as an athlete, I really did. I separated him a little bit. If this had happened three years ago and his performance had dropped off, that's a different factor."
- "Tiger Woods named Athlete of the Decade, despite being a cheating bastard," read the headline of a blog posted on mediaoutrage.com.
- "Seems an unlikely time to vote for him, but he had more influence and impact on the complete decade, 2000 to 2009, than any of the other athletes," said Paul Vigna, sports editor of The (Harrisburg, Pa.) Patriot-News.