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Why Tour Professionals Are Angry After This Perceived Disdain for Golf: ‘The Farce and the Joke’

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Matt Fitzpatrick after winning the US Open in June.

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Matt Fitzpatrick, 28, Sheffield, England pride Served 1 year. His crowning achievement was, of course Winning the US Open Championship at The Country Club, sealing the deal with one of the fiercest bunker shots any golfer has ever faced. That week in Boston represented Fitzpatrick’s only win of 2022, but he achieved nine more top-10 finishes on the PGA Tour, finished no worse than T21 in all four majors and was tagged to second on the DP World Tour (at the Italian Open). ). He would end the year as the ninth player in the world.

However, Fitzpatrick’s output wasn’t enough to earn him one of six nominations for the 2022 BBC Sports Personality of the Year award – mainly an Oscar or a Grammy for UK sportsperson. He was beaten by football star Beth Mead, who led England at the 2022 European Championships to win their first major women’s football title; cricketer Ben Stokes; Winter Olympics gold medalist Eve Muirhead; world snooker champion Ronnie O’Sullivan; gymnast Jessica Gadirova; and runner Jake Whiteman. (Earlier this week, Mead was named the winner.)

This writer, given his limited knowledge of the UK sporting scene, wouldn’t pretend to know whether Fitzpatrick was more or less deserving of the half-dozen athletes and women who got the nod. But Fitzpatrick’s absence from the short list has infuriated more than a few British golfers.

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One question @BBCSport @BBCSPOTY How about @MattFitz94 and his winning @usopengolf this year?? Justin Rose tweetedwho himself was shortlisted for the award in 2013 on the heels of winning the US Open.

Tommy Fleetwood added“No matter which way you view @BBCSport, Matt has had an incredible year. He knows it, and we all know it,” while tweeted Georgia Hall She was “just speechless”.

One of the harshest reprimands came from longtime BBC Spotty critic Ian Poulter.

“Sorry but @MattFitz94’s complete disregard makes this event a farce and a joke going on,” Boulter tweeted, dating back at least to 2012, when the winning European Ryder Cup team was awarded the BBC Team of the Year by the UK Olympic and Paralympic teams. “I experienced firsthand how much of a joke it was 10 years ago. I promised myself I would never waste time attending or watching again.”

Stop tweeting about her, though? Not much.

Even SPOTY presenter Gary Lineker, the great football announcer, seemed baffled by Fitzpatrick’s omission. On the eve of the awards ceremony, he tweeted this:

When GOLF.com asked about the criticism, the BBC press office did not immediately respond.

Apparently Fitzpatrick himself never liked his chances of winning the award. his management team Tell The telegraph Last month that Fitzpatrick “politely” declined an invitation to the ceremony—regardless of whether or not he was nominated.

If SPOTY nominations are hard to come by for golfers, wins are even rarer. Since the award’s inception in 1954 only two golfers have been honored with this honor: Dai Reese in 1957 and Nick Faldo in 1989. Even Rory McIlroy’s two-win season in 2014 wasn’t good enough for the top spot. He finished second behind Formula 1 racer Lewis Hamilton.

So, how is the award determined? According to the Official BBC Terms and Conditionsan “independent panel of experts” convenes in November to select the candidates; The committee consisted of “representatives from the world of sport” and was chaired by Barbara Slater, Director of BBC Sport. The committee selects candidates based on three criteria:

reflects UK sporting achievements at a national and/or international level; represents the breadth and depth of sports in the UK; It takes into account the ‘impact’ of a person’s sporting achievement other than the sport in question.

Fitzpatrick’s US Open victory undoubtedly ticked the first boxes. How much “impact” it has made outside the world of golf is debatable, but the same should presumably be said of, say, Ronnie O’Sullivan’s snooker exploits (and that’s no dig at O’Sullivan!).

“The panel will produce a shortlist based on reaching a unanimous opinion,” the terms and conditions continue. “If a consensus cannot be reached on all or some of the candidates, the committee is asked to vote for the remaining candidates. In the event of a tie, the decision of the chairman (director of BBC Sport) is binding.”

It is important to note that the SPOTY winner is not decided by the panel but by the public, who cast their votes via web and telephone during the awards show.

Fitzpatrick, for his part, seems to be taking SPOTY hullabaloo in stride. On the eve of this week’s party, he tweeted“2022, a year I will never forget. A year that would not have been possible without the support of my family, friends and team. Here’s to more success in 2023!!”

And who knows, maybe, maybe… a SPOTY nomination.

Alan Pastel
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Alan Pastel

Golf.com editor

As Executive Editor of GOLF.com, Bastable is responsible for the editorial direction and voice of one of the game’s most respected and widely read news sites and services. He wears many hats—editing, writing, thinking, developing, daydreaming for a day breaking 80—and feels privileged to work with an insanely talented and hardworking group of writers, editors, and producers. Before taking over at GOLF.com, he was the Features Editor at GOLF Magazine. A graduate of the University of Richmond and Columbia Journalism College, he lives in New Jersey with his wife and four children.

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