Ryder Cup stars in running for BBC sports personality gong

Graeme McDowell can cap his memorable year by being named BBC Sports Personality of the Year after he earned a place on the shortlist for the award announced yesterday. The Northern Irishman joins fellow Ryder Cup winner Lee Westwood in the running for the competition.

Westwood, who finished runner-up at both the US Masters and the Open on the way to taking the world No 1 spot from Tiger Woods, and McDowell, who became Europe's first US Open champion for 40 years, have been included in the strong shortlist for the annual award. The pair were also part of Europe's victorious Ryder Cup team at Celtic Manor.

Fifteen-times champion jump jockey Tony McCoy, who won the Grand National at the 15th attempt this year on Don't Push It, has also been nominated.

Also on the shortlist are Jessica Ennis, who added the world pentathlon title and European heptathlon title to her world heptathlon title from last year; David Haye, who twice retained his world heavyweight title, most recently against Audley Harrison; and Amy Williams, who won Britain's first individual Winter Olympics gold medal for 30 years with victory in the women's skeleton.

Mark Cavendish, who won five stages of the Tour de France, double Commonwealth diving gold medallist Tom Daley, England spin bowler Graeme Swann and darts great Phil Taylor complete the list.

The winner will be announced on 19 December. Leading odds: 4/5 McCoy, 4-1 McDowell, 8-1 Westwood, 12-1 Taylor, 16-1 Ennis.