Sports Personality of the Year: Gary Lineker stunned by Matt Fitzpatrick snub

December 21, 2022
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Callum McAvoy ✍️  

122nd U.S. Open Championship - Final Round
Matt Fitzpatrick won the U.S. Open in June (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

BBC Sports Personality of the Year host Gary Lineker cannot believe that golf star and US Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick is not among this year’s nominees.

The six nominees for the 2022 award were announced on Tuesday ahead of the live show on BBC One on Wednesday night.

England football star Beth Mead is the overwhelming favourite to win the award, according to Coral, having won the Golden Boot and been named player of the tournament during the Lionesses Euro 2022 victory in the summer.

The Arsenal forward is joined on the shortlist by England cricket captain Ben Stokes, snooker star Ronnie O’Sullivan, curler Eve Muirhead, runner Jake Wightman and gymnast Jessica Gadirova.

All are fine contenders, but there is one notable omission that many have been shocked by: Fitzpatrick.

The 28-year-old won the US Open back in June, his first major championship and has been widely tipped to achieve further success, with Paul McGinley claiming Fitzpatrick can go on to win six major titles – something only two British golfers have ever achieved before.

The former Ryder Cup captain said: ‘There are very few players you see that have that obsession with the game to the extent that Tiger Woods had it and [Nick] Faldo had it but I see it in this guy as well.

‘Everything about his life revolves around his dedication to the game.’

His exclusion from SPOTY is therefore baffling, something that football legend and the award’s host Lineker pointed out, tweeting: ‘Starting rehearsals for BBC SPOTY and saw the list of contenders doesn’t contain Matt Fitzpatrick!’

The Match of the Day presenter wasn’t the only one to express his shock at the snub, with Ian Poulter adding: ‘Sorry but complete disregard for Matt Fitzpatrick makes this event a continued farce and joke.

‘I experienced first hand how much of a joke this was ten years ago. Promised myself then I’d never waste time attending or watching again.’

SPOTY have been criticised in the past for the lack of golf recognition, with the last winner, as voted by the public, being Faldo back in 1989.

The last golfer to be on the shortlist was Danny Willett who finished last of 16 nominees back in 2016.

For more stories like this, check our sport page.

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