A golfer deserves BBC prize, says Westwood

Lee Westwood, the world No 1 golfer, may have been turned away from the door of an exclusive London nightclub earlier this week but he will at least head to tomorrow's BBC Sports Personality of the Year show pleased that his sport is finally getting some of the recognition it deserves.

This is the first time two golfers have made the shortlist of 10, although listening to Westwood, this sort of representation is overdue. The United Kingdom boasts six members of the top 11 (the US have only four) and after a season that saw Graeme McDowell become the first European to win the US Open in 40 years, the hopes of the SPOTY trophy are high.

"I think we have carried on this season as we have been playing for two or three years," said the 37-year-old who ended Tiger Woods' five-year reign on top of the world rankings in October. "The strength of British golf is incredible – but look at the press the rest of sports in Britain get. They get mountains and mountains of coverage and you tell me if they are performing as well as the golfers are. I don't think so. I don't think you'll find another sport in the country that's got as many world-class performers as Britain does at golf."

Whether it will be enough to ensure golf's second winner of the award – after Nick Faldo in 1989 – is dubious. AP McCoy has emerged as the odds-on favourite as punters have reportedly clamoured to back the 15-time champion jumps jockey in the wake of him finally breaking his Grand National hoodoo on board Don't Push It.

The racing fraternity have come together in an attempt to get their man over the line in the public vote, with the racing authorities, betting companies and racing channels all launching campaigns. Races have been renamed to further raise McCoy's profile and, weather willing, this will continue until a few hours before the BBC's lines open. Unashamedly, all six races on tomorrow's Kempton card feature McCoy in the title.

The drive is understandable as despite being the second biggest spectator sport in Britain, racing has still to boast a single SPOTY winner in the 56 years it has been held. Bob Champion and Aldaniti were awarded the Team of the Year for their Grand National victory in 1981 but otherwise leading names such as Lester Piggott and Frankie Dettori have missed out. "It would be great for racing if I were lucky enough to win," so McCoy, this most reluctant of superstars, told The Independent this week. "And racing has given me such a good life I would feel as though I'd done a little bit in return."

McDowell is considered the chief threat, particularly as the Ulsterman overcame Woods a fortnight ago when four shots down going into the final round of the Chevron World Challenge. Furthermore, the Ryder Cup is sure to be heavily featured in the show to be broadcast in front of 12,000 at the Birmingham LG Arena. Colin Montgomerie's winning Europe team are considered heavy favourites to win the Team of the Year, while Montgomerie, himself, is believed to be set to lift the Coach of the Year prize. McDowell secured the winning point at Celtic Manor and his chance in the main event is obvious.

Yet the programme could feature the youngest ever winner in Tom Daley. The 16-year-old looks a formality to win his third Young Sports Personality of the Year prize after double Commonwealth gold this year, but also made the senior sports list for a second consecutive year. He will be an emotive choice for grandmothers everywhere, although he revealed to The Independent that he cannot even count on some of his school-friends' votes.

"One of my friends in my maths class actually said that he's not going to vote for me and he's going to vote for someone else," said Daley. "I hope he was only joking."

The Nominees

Tony McCoy (Racing) Odds: 4-5

Graeme McDowell (Golf) 7-2

Graeme Swann (Cricket) 10-1

Phil Taylor (Darts) 10-1

Amy Williams (Skeleton Bob) 12-1

Lee Westwood (Golf) 16-1

Jessica Ennis (Athletics) 20-1

Tom Daley (Diving) 33-1

Mark Cavendish (Cycling) 66-1

David Haye (Boxing) 66-1

Other awards

Overseas Personality

Team of the Year

Lifetime Achievement

Coach of the Year

Helen Rollason Award

Young Sports Personality of the Year

Unsung Hero Award

TV: Tomorrow, BBC 1, 7-9pm

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?