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TIGER Woods has been voted Athlete of the Decade in an Associated Press survey of US sports editors, his 10 years of incomparable golf outweighing nearly three weeks of a salacious sex scandal.
Just like so many of his 64 victories worldwide and 12 majors dating 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 that set off the sensational tales of infidelity that have tarnished Woods's image.
Lance Armstrong, a cancer survivor who won the Tour de France six times this decade, finished second with 33 votes, followed by tennis champion Roger Federer with 25 votes.
Meanwhile, Tiger can still salvage his tarnished image around the world despite the scandal that has forced him to take an indefinite break from golf, according to several global brand experts.
In Europe, where people are traditionally more liberal when it comes to social attitudes, the scandal has hurt the American, but his power to sell is not beyond repair. In countries where cultural taboos about infidelity are greater, it may take a little longer for the world's No 1 golfer to recover, but the consensus is that it will happen.
"He may never achieve those peaks again that he's done, but he will be a significant sports person and a significant figure in the world of golf in a few years' time. I have no doubt about it," said Simon Middleton, a British brand consultant. - Sapa-AP