European Solheim Cup Team And Catriona Matthew Miss Out On Sports Personality Of The Year Awards

The winning 2021 Solheim Cup Team and Captain Catriona Matthew are overlooked as Gareth Southgate and the England football team take top honours

2021 in golf
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From Emma Raducanu owning the stage at Flushing Meadows, to the Cheltenham Festival, Olympic Games and Phil Mickelson defying the odds at Kiawah Island, the summer of 2021 provided so many lasting sporting memories. They also provided a welcomed distraction to what was otherwise a turbulent year.

Two moments however, stood out head and shoulders above the rest.

Gareth Southgate had England believing that football was indeed coming home, only to fall at the final hurdle to the Italians, and Captain Fantastic, Catriona Matthew, led the European Solheim Cup team to glory on American soil for the first time since 2013.

Guess which one of them was rewarded in this year’s Sports Personality of the Year Awards?

Gareth Southgate was named the 2021 Coach of the Year with the England football team crowned Team of the Year.

Now England’s achievement in this year’s European Championship clearly deserves recognition. After all, it was their first major final in 55 years. That said, and very simply put, they did not win.

In contrast, Catriona Matthew led Europe to a 15-13 victory over USA at Inverness Club, Ohio. She did so with limited European fans present as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

So how has this happened? The answer of course, I do not know. I do however, feel it's wrong. 

When it comes to the Sports Personality of the Year awards, golf has somewhat of an interesting relationship.

Only twice in its 67 year history has a golfer won its headline award. Welshman, Dai Rees, was crowned with honours in 1957 after leading Great Britain and Ireland to victory in the Ryder Cup at Lindrick. This was prior to the competition including continental Europe. It was also the only defeat the United States suffered between 1933 and 1985.

Sir Nick Faldo won in 1989 after claiming the first of his three Masters titles following a sudden death playoff against Scott Hoch. In the process, he became the first Englishman to win the Masters.

Six Ryder Cup teams have won the Team of the Year award however, the last of those came in 2010. Somewhat remarkably, the team that gave us the Miracle at Medinah in 2012 lost out. No Solheim Cup team has ever won that award.  

Disappointing? Yes. Surprising? Unfortunately, not.

It seems my opinion is shared by many. Ian Poulter reacted by saying he had “given up” on the awards years ago.

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Many other golf and sporting fans had their say too.

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James Hibbitt
James Hibbitt

James joined Golf Monthly having previously written for other digital outlets. He is obsessed with all areas of the game – From tournament golf, to history, equipment, technique and travel. He is also an avid collector of memorabilia; with signed items from the likes of Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino, Colin Montgomerie, Ernie Els and Johnny Miller. As well as writing for Golf Monthly, James’ golfing highlight is fist bumping Phil Mickelson on his way to winning the Open Championship at Muirfield in 2013. James grew up on the east coast of England and is the third generation of his golfing family. He now resides in Leeds and is a member of Cobble Hall Golf Club with a handicap index of 1.7. His favourite golf films are The Legend of Bagger Vance and Tin Cup.