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The decision to leave Matt Fitzpatrick off the shortlist for tonight’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year award has stunned the show’s host Gary Lineker.

The football legend will present the glitzy event this evening alongside Clare Balding, Gabby Logan and Alex Scott as it enters its 69th year.

The six-person shortlist for the main award was revealed yesterday, much to the anger of golfers and golf fans who reacted furiously to the decision to overlook US Open champion Fitzpatrick.

• Legendary caddie tips Tiger for Ryder Cup spot

• Golf fans react to Fitzpatrick SPOTY snub

Ian Poulter branded it “a continued farce and joke” with Justin Rose, who won the same major in 2013, also questioning it.

Now, Lineker – fresh from presenting the BBC’s World Cup coverage in Qatar – has joined the incredulity.

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Last month, it was reported Fitzpatrick had “politely declined” an invitation to attend after it emerged he was unlikely to make the shortlist.

Golf has been regularly overlooked at the glitzy annual bash since its inception in 1954, with Dai Rees in 1957 and Sir Nick Faldo in 1989 the only golfers ever to win.

• Norman reveals LIV’s door is still open for Rory

• Westwood: Other tours are scared of LIV

Rory McIlroy lost out despite winning two majors in 2014, while Darren Clarke finished second behind Zara Phillips in 2006, the year he helped inspire Europe to Ryder Cup glory.

Footballer Beth Mead is the favourite to take top spot this year after helping England’s women’s team win the European Championships.


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Michael McEwan is the Deputy Editor of bunkered and has been part of the team since 2004. In that time, he has interviewed almost every major figure within the sport, from Jack Nicklaus, to Rory McIlroy, to Donald Trump. The host of the multi award-winning bunkered Podcast and a member of Balfron Golfing Society, Michael is the author of three books and is the 2023 PPA Scotland 'Writer of the Year' and 'Columnist of the Year'. Dislikes white belts, yellow balls and iron headcovers. Likes being drawn out of the media ballot to play Augusta National.

Deputy Editor

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