Rory McIlroy not winning Sports Personality of the Year is certainly an embarrassment to the BBC and the prestigious name of the award if not a slight on the entire nation! It was a shock to the sporting world, I think Lewis Hamilton himself, and I imagine to McIlroy who took it remarkably well, even Tweeting congratulations to Lewis Hamilton and suggesting how much he deserved it. Really!
McIlroy had had an appalling 2013 with all kinds of problems on and off the golf course. He was plummeting down the World Rankings and many wondered had he still got the hunger to maintain the level of golf he had played as a young man. Then, suddenly he wins the British Open and then the USPGA. After that he helps Europe to win the Ryder Cup, wins the Race To Dubai and ends the year back as World Number 1. Goodness me!
Lee Westwood Tweeted yesterday:
"SPOTY technology of the year goes to the silver and red dodgem!!! Just have to win all 4 next year @McIlroyRory!"
It says it all. The truth is that the runner up had to find his swing and master his putting game as well as a new mental focus and confidence to win not just one but TWO major titles. Not wanting to diminish Hamilton’s mental strength and driving ability there is a lot to do with technology and having the right car in winning the Formula One World Championship.
Of course this blog gives a clue as to why Hamilton won. There is a subjective nature to what the sports fan thinks of golf and Formula One. For some reason, really unimaginable to me, many people love to see fast cars doing laps and changing tyres. I find it as dull as cricket and horse racing. However, I know that there are many people who struggle with golf and even Rory is saying this week that there needs to be some way to speed it up and make it more exciting.
For me though there are other reasons for this particular travesty. Firstly, the digital age gives more people who are not that interested to have their say. In the old days when you had to send your vote it was more of a commitment and only the real sports fan got involved. Today you can send your text and do it on the night. Whatever feeling you get during the programme effects the result rather than people taking time to overview the year and ponder whose achievement is most deserving over the entire year.
Then of course Hamilton’s win is fresh. That the award is given just days after the emotion of his success probably played its part. Had the Ryder Cup been a couple of weekends ago or even more the British Open then Rory would have maybe got what he deserved. That’s the luck of the sports season I guess.
For me though I cannot help but think that if Rory had been English it might have been another result. Had Westwood, Poulter or Rose won two Majors and the Ryder Cup I find it hard to believe that they would not have won. I do acknowledge that the whole of Northern Ireland are so proud of Rory, Graeme and Darren that we were all texting for our man. I still wonder though. Are we really British? I know many will point to Tony McCoy’s win in 2010 but our sour grapes over here in the six counties will feel a little bit on the fringe of the Union this particular week!
Anyway, as Lee Westwood says you are going to have to win all 4 next year Rory!