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It just wouldn’t be Christmas without golf being snubbed at SPOTY

Another Sports Personality of the Year has come and gone and golf is once again AWOL from the action. But it's time to stop losing sleep over it
 

Sunday night marked 30 years since the last time a golfer was honoured with the Sports Personality of the Year award.

Since Sir Nick Faldo scooped the prize in 1989, Darren Clarke has come second twice – once a sympathy vote in 2006, then for winning the Open in 2011 – while Rory McIlroy was robbed in 2014 when Lewis Hamilton took the main prize. The BBC’s supposed disdain for golf hit a crashing crescendo last year when Georgia Hall won the Women’s British Open and was barely mentioned.

This year Ben Stokes and his England cricket team-mates were the ultimate winners as golf once again received minimal air-time despite Tiger Woods completing one of the sport’s greatest comebacks, Shane Lowry giving the Open’s return to Royal Portrush a near-perfect winner, and the European Solheim Cup team pulling off one of the most stunning victories in the competition’s short history.

The Solheim Cup was nominated in two categories – the Greatest Sporting Moment of the Year, for Suzann Pettersen’s winning putt, and Team of the Year.

Despite being beaten by England’s cricket team on both accounts, skipper Catriona Matthew was in the building and, after a 43-second montage of the week in Gleneagles, she gave a short interview with Clare Balding. That was as good as it got for our beautiful game, as Woods was up for the World Sports Star award but was beaten by marathon record-breaker, Eluid Kipchoge.

I don’t recall Lowry even getting a mention – though he did appear briefly on a round-up VT playing behind Lewis Capaldi as the singer warbled one of those songs you hate but can never get out of your head.

Then there was Golf Twitter. Golf Twitter is so, so, good during Sports Personality of the Year. The usual suspects were out in force airing their discontent at the sport’s lack of recognition. Maybe it’s time to just accept that SPOTY isn’t what it used to be. What was once a fascinating review of the sporting year is now self-indulgent nonsense. And it’s not as if it’s just golf that gets forgotten about year after year.

Luckily, our sport’s golden girl Hall didn’t let the setback stop her. Since being snubbed last year her career has gone from strength to strength and she has been honoured with an MBE. Not only that but she is now a leading light in the growth and promotion of women’s golf, inspiring the next generation. Have that, BBC!

Golf’s lack of recognition at Sports Personality of the Year is like arguing with relatives or watching Wallace and Gromit. It just wouldn’t be Christmas without it. So let’s not lose any sleep over it.

Joe Hughes

Tour editor covering men's golf, women's golf and anything else that involves the word golf, really. The talk is far better than the game, but the work has begun to change that.

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