Attributed odds of 1/10 for success, there’s not many who can oppose Rory McIlroy, the world’s finest golfer, in the race to be crowned Sports Personality of the Year.
With two majors in the trophy cabinet and a place atop the world rankings, Holywood’s finest tee-to-greener would be a worthy winner of the prestigious accolade.
But no club wielder has claimed the award since Sir Nick Faldo fever swept the nation all the way back in 1989, a few months after wee Rory first graced Planet Earth.
This prompted the scribes at news.bwin.com/en/ towers to visit Mary, who works in accounts on the fourth floor (she’s quite the contrarian, y’see).
We asked her: “Mary, is there any way 2014 will be yet another year a golfer fails to win Sports Personality of the Year?”
Here’s what she told us:
Don’t rule out Lewis Hamilton.
Stevenage’s finest rubber burner is 6/1 second favourite as he looks to claim his second Formula 1 Driver’s Championship in what’s been a thrilling tussle with ‘teammate’ Nico Rosberg at the summit of the standings.
The pair have feuded on and off the track this term, with the German in command and course for the title up until a second-half-of-the-season surge from the Ham the Man, who is now poised to claim the mantle
With only one title on offer in the sport, this achievement will outrank McIlroy’s in the eyes of many.
There’s been a history of upsets at the SPOTY awards dinner.
Fellow speedster Jenson Button was cruelly denied the gong after claiming F1’s richest prize in 2009, losing out to Ryan Giggs, who won on grounds of sentiment, not achievement.
Greg Rusedski lassoed the laurels ten years prior for reaching tennis’ US Open final, while Lennox Lewis beat David Beckham to the punch (pun intended) in 1999, just months after Golden Balls helped Manchester United win an historic treble.
The legendary British F1 drivers have all hoisted the trophy at some point.
Joe Public has voted Jackie Stewart, Nigel Mansell and Damon Hill (twice) as the nation’s greatest sportsperson over the years and, with (soon to be) two world titles to his name, Hamilton must rank alongside these.
R-Mac’s achievements came too early in the year.
The Northern Irishman hasn’t hogged many column inches since the Ryder Cup in September, while his last major personal crown – the PGA – came in early August.
Hamilton will be but a month away from the awards ceremony when he celebrates his Drivers’ Championship win, meaning his success will be fresh in the minds of the vote casters.