Rory McIlroy is the only sportsman not connected with the Olympic and Paralympic Games to make the shortlist for this year’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
The Northern Irishman has had his finest season to date, winning his second major at the PGA Championship in August (above) as well as four Tour titles across the globe en route to topping the money lists on both sides of the Atlantic.
McIlroy, who is 100/1 to take the BBC award, was also part of the successful European Ryder Cup side.
“It is a real honour to be nominated two years in a row,” said the World No.1, “particularly with it being an Olympic year and with so many outstanding achievements in British sport in 2012.”
When asked about his highlights of such a momentous season, McIlroy added: “I guess it has to be the PGA. The Ryder Cup is up there as well, but it will be nice to have a few weeks off and think back about all the great moments of the year.”
As expected, the shortlist is dominated by those who lit up London 2012, with Bradley Wiggins – who in July became the first Briton to win the Tour de France (above) before going on to win gold in the Olympic time trial just weeks later – is the red hot favourite at 4/11.
Runner Mo Farah (5/1) and heptathlete Jessica Ennis (11/1) both took gold on that memorable Super Saturday in the Olympic Stadium, while tennis ace Andy Murray (10/1) won gold in the singles and silver in the doubles before going on to end 76 years of hurt for the British men’s game at the US Open in Flushing Meadows.
Wheelchair racer David Weir (25/1) swimmer Ellie Simmonds (50/1) and cyclist Sarah Storey (200/1), who won ten golds between them, are the three nominated Paralympians, while cyclist Chris Hoy (150/1) picked up his fifth and sixth gold medals in the Velodrome to beat the record for most golds won by a British sportsman.
Ben Ainslie (150/1) triumphed to become the most decorated Olympic sailor, while boxer Nicola Adams and rower Katherine Grainger (both 200/1) make up the shortlist.
Such was the strength in depth of potential contenders, other Olympic gold medallists Greg Rutherford, Victoria Pendleton, Laura Trott, Alistair Brownlee and Charlotte Dujardin – as well as European Ryder Cup hero Ian Poulter – had to miss out.
“Thanks for all the amazing comments about me being on the shortlist for SPOTY,” tweeted Poulter. “But I wouldn’t expect to be in such an amazing year for British sport.”
BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2012 will take place on Sunday December 16, live on BBC1.
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