BBC awards disrespect golf

BBC awards disrespect golf

Last night was a desperate new low for the relationship between golf and the BBC.

If it was a married couple, it would have been separated long ago – but the Sports Personality of the Year awards ceremony, broadcast live from Leeds last night, was surely the sort of occasion for which the expression ‘irreconcilable differences’ was invented.

First, some background. In the 60-year history of the BBC awards, only two golfers have ever won it. Dai Rees, in 1957, and Sir Nick Faldo, in 1989. Tony Jacklin and Darren Clarke have each been runner-up twice, whilst Sandy Lyle and Ian Woosnam have both had the ‘honour’ of coming third.

Two wins for golfers. As compared with three for figure-skaters, four for cricketers, five for boxers, and six for Formula One drivers. It’s a paltry return.

Last night, Justin Rose had a chance to follow in the footsteps of Rees and Faldo, having made the ten-person short-list for the prize. This off the back of a season in which he became the first Englishman to win a major in 17 years and the first to win the US Open since 1970.

That Rose didn’t win was no great surprise. Andy Murray’s Wimbledon heroics made the contest something of a formality. But for him to garner less than 10,000 votes and finish outside the top three was a genuine shock.

Still, can’t blame the BBC for that. The public vote for the award. Their fault.

The whole night was symptomatic of the way the BBC seems to feel about golf.

Where the finger can be pointed at the Beeb is in the presentation of the ‘Young Sports Personality of the Year’ and ‘Team of the Year’ awards.

First, the latter. Yes, the British & Irish Lions rugby union side’s win over Australia this summer was impressive. But it paled in comparison to Europe’s Solheim Cup thumping of the USA, a first-ever win for the Euros on American soil. Still, the rugby lads got the nod.

If that was remarkable, the ‘Young Sports Personality of the Year’ award was truly flabbergasting. Charley Hull began the year as a mere amateur. She’ll end it having finished sixth on the Ladies European Tour Order of Merit and as the single biggest star of this year’s Solheim Cup, where she became the youngest player ever to play in the match. She took on American golf’s poster girl, Paula Creamer, in the singles and gave her an absolute kicking in front of a partisan American crowd.

And yet the BBC’s panel decided to snub her for the award in favour of shooter, Amber Hill.

No offence to Hill, who no doubt had a great year, but what Charley Hull did was downright spectacular.

The whole night was symptomatic of the way the BBC seems to feel about golf. It used to do the sport so well. Now, the only thing it does it is a disservice.

Of course, in the grand scheme of things, the awards are of little significance. But that’s not the point. If the BBC wants to present the evening as a celebration of the year in sport, it needs to far better and more even job of things.

BBC and golf: a broken marriage?

Do you agree with Michael McEwan’s thoughts on the relationship between the BBC and golf? Leave your thoughts in our ‘Comments’ section below.

Michael McEwan

Michael McEwan

Assistant Editor at bunkered golf magazine
Michael McEwan is the assistant editor of bunkered and its sister publications Scottish Club Golfer and English Club Golfer. He is also a frequent contributor to www.bunkered.co.uk.
Michael McEwan

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  1. Maple23

    December 16, 2013 at 11:29 am

    In the history of the #SPOTY team award a female team has only won it once, back in 1969! History was made at Solheim!

  2. Margaret

    December 16, 2013 at 11:31 am

    @Beany25 The way the Lions were paraded in a done deal!

  3. Stuart367

    December 16, 2013 at 11:32 am

    @Beany25 Couldn’t agree more

  4. David Curran

    December 16, 2013 at 11:32 am

    Article would work better without hyperbole. “Single biggest star”. She won 2 pts, Hedwall won 5/5.

  5. We Film Golf

    December 16, 2013 at 11:39 am

    Do you think we should bid for the rights for next year’s Open? #WeCanFollowTheBall

  6. Annie-Jean

    December 16, 2013 at 11:53 am

    Only 3 of 12 players (15 if include captains) were British. Could say more deserving in 2011 with more Brits in the team.

  7. Jo R

    December 16, 2013 at 11:53 am

    @Beany25 I agree. Couldn’t believe Charley Hull didn’t win last night.

  8. Southport Old Links

    December 16, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    “: BBC awards disrespect golf – http://t.co/LmSyc4En3M http://t.co/n2Xccytc6j”. Strong words but may have a point? #golf

  9. Ruth Leonard

    December 16, 2013 at 12:49 pm

    Hugely disappointing and downright farcical! As stated in the report the votes of the public are what they are but for the BBC panel to snub probably the most successful youngster this country has seen for decades, speaks volumes!

  10. Duncan

    December 16, 2013 at 2:14 pm

    BBC moan they lose The Masters etc, they should,lose The Open with coverage like this.
    Sky should take over SPOTY then we would see a show!
    Poorest Aussie side for years, not exactly world beaters, Sth Africa and N.Zealand have turned them over.
    Poor BBC very poor, won’t be watching next year.

  11. gaynorroberts

    December 17, 2013 at 7:29 pm

    @Beany25 Oh please – why the surprise?

  12. Douglas Dickie

    December 20, 2013 at 10:53 am

    I’d also suggest young Matthew Fitzpatrick should have been suggested for the young prize

  13. Darren - Clear Swing

    December 20, 2013 at 11:11 am

    – it’s often the case that deserving winners lose out because their event wasn’t shown on the Beeb.Less&less sport on there!

  14. Gordon McCadden

    December 20, 2013 at 11:16 am

    Same applies to Charley Hull but if you didn’t vote you can’t complain.

    • Avatar of Chuckie


      January 16, 2014 at 11:08 am

      Only just seeing this. Gordon, you couldn’t vote for the Young Sports Personality of the Year award. It was decided upon by a BBC panel.

  15. Gordon McCadden

    December 20, 2013 at 11:17 am

    You can’t blame the BBC. It’s votes that count.

  16. David Bruce

    December 20, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    agree re the Solheim Cup team but Justin Rose is as dull as dish water and isn’t a personality!

  17. Graham Wild

    December 20, 2013 at 8:00 pm

    bbc don’t seem bothered about golf charley hull should have got award plus solheim cup team

  18. Martin Hollands

    January 9, 2014 at 8:08 pm

    Only just saw this.

    The thing is it isn’t the BBC that decides Sports Personality, it is the public!

    As for Charley Hull, yes an exceptional year, and if she had perhaps won a Major she would have deserved it, however what the young shooter did was exceptional.

    Sometimes it is all too easy to become myopic about the sport you enjoy.

  19. Avatar of Grace Ness

    Grace Ness

    April 8, 2014 at 3:21 pm

    Biggest travesty was a few years ago when Catriona Matthews won the British Open & didn’t win although she did win Scottish Personality. The Sky Sports team know their golf only decent Beeb commentator is Hazel Irvine who is actually a good golfer herself.

  20. Avatar of Kevin McArthur

    Kevin McArthur

    April 23, 2014 at 12:24 am

    i believe the results happened the way they did because these sports are well represented by the BBC, not everyone has access to Sky TV were the majority of golf is shown.
    The BBC’s golf coverage is the US Masters , Open, BMW at Wentworth, Scottish Open, and the ladies British Open …

  21. Avatar of Spartacus McDuff

    Spartacus McDuff

    May 16, 2014 at 6:47 pm

    I don’t see why the BBC are to blame. It’s the public who vote for the winners.

  22. Owen Barnes

    August 18, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    Looks like this will be Golf’s year. Who else is there to match Rory?

  23. Arthur Anderson

    September 16, 2014 at 7:46 am

    bbc team covering golf is simply not good enough. MAJOR change is overdue. a lead golf personality is required.

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