The AP chose Woods for the honor today because of the top-ranked golfer’s 10 years of dominance on the golf course. Woods won 56 of the 142 votes that AP member editors cast, according to the AP’s Doug Ferguson.
Despite the recent barrage of negative media surrounding Woods the past decade of incredible sportsmanship and fine skill he has shown will be what is remembered in history. Not one of his sponsors has walked away from him, and he is continually the most watched golf player. He is also the most consistent winner of large purse prizes, Woods finished the decade with $81,547,410 in earnings from his PGA Tour events, an average of $482,529 per tournament.
Lance Armtrong, who overcame cancer and won the Tour de France six times in the past decade, was runner-up with 33 votes. Tennis star Roger Federer came in third, 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).
With athleticism reaching new heights each year, people running 100s of miles at a time, climbing new peaks, and setting new swimming records, being able to hold the title of athlete of the decade is a true honor and a well deserved one for Woods.