By Nick Harris
4 October 2010
Graeme McDowell has become the clear favourite to win the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award after winning the crucial deciding match in the Ryder Cup this afternoon to regain the trophy for Europe from America.
McDowell, 31, from Portrush in Northern Ireland, was already among the leading contenders, having won the US Open at Pebble Beach in June. But after beating Hunter Mahan 3&1 in the deciding singles match this afternoon, to seal Europe’s 14 1/2 – 13 1/2 victory, McDowell’s price came in to make him clear favourite for the SPOTY award.
Others in the frame include jockey Tony McCoy, heptathlete Jess Ennis, darts player Phil Taylor, F1 driver Lewis Hamilton, and Europe’s Ryder Cup captain, Colin Montgomerie.
The last golfer to win the award was Nick Faldo in 1989.
McDowell’s favouritism shouldn’t be taken as meaning he’ll win the award; bookies’ outsiders have stormed from long odds to win in the past four years with Ryan Giggs (2009), Chris Hoy (2008), Joe Calzaghe (2007) and Zara Phillips (2006) pipping previous front-runners on the night after a public vote.
Different bookies have McDowell at different prices but a comparison at Oddschecker at the time of writing shows McDowell generally at 7-4 favourite ahead of McCoy (2-1), Ennis, Hamilton and Taylor.