How the majors have fallen in significance, or maybe it’s just that golf no longer finds itself on the radar at BBC HQ after confirmation that US Open Champion Matt Fitzpatrick hasn’t even been nominated for this year’s Sports Personality Award.
Fitzpatrick, alongside right-hand-man Billy Foster, showed nerves of steel down the stretch at The Country Club at Brookline to pip then world number one Scottie Scheffler and Will Zalatoris to his maiden major title.
Try winning at least two majors next year, Matt Fitzpatrick. One just doesn’t cut it, I’m afraid. https://t.co/bC09M7LYT0
— Jamie Weir (@jamiecweir) December 20, 2022
Despite its global participation figures, golf has long been overlooked by the BBC with Nick Faldo the last player to win the award all the way back in 1989. And while many would’ve considered Fitzpatrick’s breakthrough victory at least worthy of a nomination, with the Englishman also breaking into the world’s top-10 at a career-high 9 off the back of a stellar year, his feats of 2022 failed to make the shortlist of six.
Instead, the contenders include many people’s favourite, Beth Mead who was the Golden Boot winner and player of the tournament at Euro 2022 where the Lionesses reigned supreme.
Mead is joined on the shortlist by 18-year old world champion gymnast Jessica Gadirova and world champion middle-distance runner Jake Wightman.
2019 recipient and cricketer Ben Stokes is up for honours again after a victorious campaign that included helping England to the T20 World Cup. Curling’s Eve Muirhead is also nominated after skipping Team GB to the Gold medal at the Winter Olympics before announcing her retirement, while snooker genius Ronnie O’Sullivan – whose never won the award – could claim the crown at 47 having matched Stephen Hendry’s record of seven World Snooker Championships this year.
The awards will be aired on BBC One on Wednesday night and voting will be open during the show to decide the winner.
Outside Britain and eight-time Olympic Gold Medallist Usain Bolt will be honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award on the night while Golden Ball winner at this month’s FIFA World Cup, Lionel Messi has been recognised as the World Sport Star of the Year, though don’t expect an appearance from the little magician.