Why Rory McIlroy may as well not turn up for BBC SPOTY | Roberts Rants

Rory McIlroy has been priced up at huge odds to win BBC SPOTY, and likely with good reason. 

Why Rory McIlroy may as well not turn up for BBC SPOTY | Roberts Rants
Why Rory McIlroy may as well not turn up for BBC SPOTY | Roberts Rants

I must admit I was stunned waking up this morning to see Rory McIlroy had been named one of six nominees for the coveted BBC Sports Personality of the Year. 

Not because I didn't think he deserved his place, but more, well, this is the BBC who could not give a s*** about golf in 2023. 


McIlroy, 34, was in diapers and not even yet chipping socks into washing machines when the last golfer won BBC SPOTY in Sir Nick Faldo back in 1989

Faldo etched his name on the award that year having slipped on the famous Green Jacket for the first time at The Masters.

The Englishman went on to win six majors before being knighted in 2009. 

Wales' Dai Rees was the first golfer to win BBC SPOTY in 1957, a year in which he captained Great Britain to their first Ryder Cup success in 24 years in a 7.5-4.5 victory.

So yes that's right, only two golfers have ever won in the 69-year history of BBC SPOTY. 

That equates to just 3%

Could three be the lucky number for McIlroy on Tuesday December 19

I would love to say yes but I don't believe so, and neither do the bookies.

Why Rory McIlroy may as well not turn up for BBC SPOTY | Roberts Rants

Much of my reasoning is down to the fact the BBC have no interest in taking golf seriously.

I appreciate this is now a public vote but the majority of casual sports fans - at least without a Sky subscription - will not have a clue what McIlroy has been up to this season. 

It's almost like the BBC have thrown in McIlroy for the sake of it as if to say 'oh hey, do you remember us, we still love golf...'

Course you do. 

All we get now are some highlights every now and then, usually late in the day when the majority of us are tucked up in bed. 

Yes, we all know Sky Sports is the new home of golf with their dedicated 24/7 channel, but some of us are not so fortunate to be able to afford the subscription fee, especially in these tricky economic times. 

What I really struggle to get my head around this year is the fact the BBC turned down a free PGA Tour highlights package. 

Yes, PGA Tour events, and yes for free

You want the main reason? "It did not suit the demographic", a source told the Telegraph. 

What, a sport that has gone from strength to strength in the UK and is still on an upward trend since the Covid lockdown? 


Rory McIlroy finished second in BBC SPOTY in 2014

It should also be noted McIlroy still finished second at BBC SPOTY to Lewis Hamilton back in 2014, a year in which he won back-to-back major titles at The Open and US PGA, and he also helped Europe win the Ryder Cup when taking three points from five. 

The World No.2 has not had anywhere near that sort of season in 2023, albeit he did top score with four points from five en route to helping Europe win back the Ryder Cup in Rome, and he did retain his Race to Dubai title following two victories on the season. 

The BBC probably had to check out McIlroy's Wikipedia page earlier this week to even find all that information out. Of course I joke. 

While 2023 has certainly been a good year for McIlroy, I just think not having won a major holds him back from having had a great one. 

McIlroy missed the cut at The Masters but then finished inside the top 10 in the other majors (T7 US PGA, 2 US Open, T6 Open). 

Even McIlroy admits he would only give his season a 7/10. So that probably says a lot. 

McIlroy now enters a 10th consecutive season looking to get back on the major ladder. 

I think a more fitting way to hand McIlroy the BBC SPOTY would be to wait for him to complete the career grand slam at The Masters, which surely will happen soon. 

What price is Rory McIlroy to win BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2023?

Why Rory McIlroy may as well not turn up for BBC SPOTY | Roberts Rants

McIlroy has been priced up with the bookies at odds of 50/1, and even 125/1 in places, to win BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2023. 

England goalkeeper Mary Earps has been installed as a red-hot 1/10 favourite.

Earps, 30, will be hoping to emulate her compatriot Beth Mead, who became the first women's footballer to win the award in 2022. 

The Manchester United women's goalkeeper was the standout player for England as they reached the Women's World Cup final for the first time in 2023. 

Earps played in every minute over the seven matches, keeping three clean sheets en route to winning the World Cup Golden Glove. 

England unfortunately went on to lose to Spain 1-0 in the final. 

Earps was also voted England Women's Player of the Year for 2022-2023 and she finished fifth for the Ballon d'Or award. 

On top of that, she claimed the Women's Super League Golden Glove for the 2022-23 season with Manchester United, having kept a record 14 clean sheets. 

Other nominees for BBC SPOTY this year include cricketer Stuart Broad (8/1), athlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson (16/1), jockey Frankie Dettori (20/1) and wheelchair tennis player Alfie Hewett (66/1). 

McIlroy is therefore very much towards the back end of the betting market, but that is something golfers have had to get used to with BBC SPOTY.

Former BBC SPOTY nominee Justin Rose is certainly trying his best to get golf fans to pick up the phone for McIlroy. 


I would love to see McIlroy spring a surprise and win BBC SPOTY but I can't see it. 

Earps will win it, especially with the BBC heavily promoting women's football. 

Let's just hope golf gets more than the 64 seconds of coverage it received in 2022. 

That in itself would be a success. 

Are you as surprised as Andy that Rory McIlroy has been nominated for BBC SPOTY this season? Do you think he will win it? Share your thoughts and comments over on the GolfMagic social media channels. 

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