Following the news that US Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick has been snubbed by the BBC Sports personality of the year, Ian Poulter has criticised the decision, describing the awards as a "joke".
The LIV Golf player aired his views in response to a tweet from the Telegraph’s Golf Correspondent James Corrigan on the controversy. The 46-year-old responded: “BBC Spoty is a joke. Disgusting how @MattFitz94 is completely overlooked. Glad he didn’t waste his time flying over. Team GB won in 2012, & in the hand book Team GB couldn’t win as a Team. That was overturned by the executive panel. BBC told us please fly over for it. Custard Pie.”
BBC Spoty is a joke. Disgusting how @MattFitz94 is completely overlooked. Glad he didn’t waste his time flying over. Team GB won in 2012, & in the hand book Team GB couldn’t win as a Team. That was overturned by the executive panel. BBC told us please fly over for it. Custard PieDecember 20, 2022
It was recently revealed that Fitzpatrick politely declined an invite to the ceremony because golfers rarely win the award. Indeed, only two players have won the award in its long history – Sir Nick Faldo in 1989 and Dai Rees in 1957.
Fitzpatrick’s win at the Country Club of Brookline was special not only because it marked the Englishman’s first Major victory, but also because he achieved the feat at the same venue he won the US Amateur in 2013, an achievement previously matched only by the legendary Jack Nicklaus. The win was the highlight of a remarkable year for Fitzpatrick, who also moved into the world’s top 10 for the first time.
As far as Poulter is concerned, the snub is hardly surprising given the recent history of the ceremony. Poulter’s criticism also refers to Team Europe’s ineligibility for the Team of the Year award following its remarkable Miracle Of Medinah Ryder Cup win a decade ago, which he was part of. That victory was particularly dramatic because Team Europe faced a daunting four-shot deficit against Team USA going into the final day. While Poulter acknowledges the exclusion was eventually overturned, it didn’t lead to recognition. Only one member of the team, Rory McIlroy, appeared anywhere in the list of nominees for an award that year. The Northern Irishman eventually came 10th on the list for the Sports Personality of the Year award.
Poulter wasn't finished there either, and also responded directly to BBC Sport's tweet announcing the nominees. He wrote: Sorry but complete disregard for @MattFitz94 makes this event a continued farce and joke. I experienced first hand how much of a joke this was 10 years ago. Promised myself then I’d never waste time attending or watching again."
Sorry but complete disregard for @MattFitz94 makes this event a continued farce and joke. I experienced first hand how much of a joke this was 10 years ago. Promised myself then I’d never waste time attending or watching again. https://t.co/SlMDIMBflhDecember 20, 2022
It’s not just Poulter who has had his say, either. Former World No.1 Justin Rose also took to Twitter to air his frustrations at Fitzpatrick's omission. Responding to the nominees’ list unveiled by BBC Sport, Rose wrote: “One question @BBCSport @BBCSPOTY. What about @MattFitz94 and his @usopengolf win this year??”
🙋🏻♂️ One question @BBCSport @BBCSPOTY What about @MattFitz94 and his @usopengolf win this year?? https://t.co/tszrt0l5fBDecember 20, 2022
While Fitzpatrick is likely to be disappointed - though not surprised - he has been left off the list of nominees, perhaps the support being shown to him by his fellow pros will offer some consolation after a memorable year. Given the high-profile names weighing in on the controversy, it will also be hoped that future years will see more recognition for the achievements of golfers when the prestigious annual awards ceremony comes around.
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Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories.
He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game.
Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course.
Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.
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