Sports Personality of the Year presenter Gary Lineker has expressed his surprise at Matt Fitzpatrick failing to make it onto the 2022 shortlist despite the golf star’s triumph at the US Open this year.
The BBC announced the six nominees for their annual award on Tuesday, with Beth Mead, Ben Stokes, Ronnie O’Sullivan, Jessica Gadirova, Eve Muirhead and Jake Wightman all in the run to be crowned winner on Wednesday night.
This year’s shortlist has whipped up plenty of controversy after a number of successful British athletes were left out, yet no omission sparked as much outrage as Fitzpatrick.
Gary Lineker has questioned Matt Fitzpatrick’s omission from the SPOTY shortlist for 2022
Lineker, who hosts the annual awards ceremony, took to Twitter to question Fitzpatrick’s snub
After discovering the golf star had not made the cut, Lineker couldn’t contain his surprise
The English golfer claimed his first major by coming out on top at the US Open in June, when he surpassed fellow Brit Rory McIlroy on his way to the title.
However, despite becoming only the second Englishman to claim victory at the tournament since 1970, there was still no room for him on the SPOTY shortlist.
Ian Poulter led the backlash against Fitzpatrick’s omission on Twitter, branding the awards ceremony a ‘continued farce and joke’ after also being snubbed for a place on the shortlist in 2012 despite his starring role in Europe’s dramatic Ryder Cup win.
Justin Rose, the last English player to win the US Open back in 2013, also questioned why the 28-year-old failed to earn a place among the six nominees.
And now Lineker, who is set to present SPOTY on Wednesday evening, has become the latest high-profile figure to suggest Fitzpatrick should have been included.
Ian Poulter led the backlash against SPOTY on Twitter after Fitzpatrick was not included
Poulter branded the awards a ‘continued farce and joke’ while insisting he never watches it
Ex-US Open champion Justin Rose joined Poulter in slamming the decision to omit Fitzpatrick
The BBC host wrote on Twitter: ‘Starting rehearsals for @BBCSPOTY and saw the list of contenders doesn’t contain @MattFitz94!’ along with two astonished-faced emojis.
A golfer has not been crowned Sports Personality of the Year since Nick Faldo in 1989 after his first Masters victory.
Rose was shortlisted after winning the US Open in 2013, only to finish ninth out of the 10 nominees, with the cut to six ultimately proving costly for Fitzpatrick.
Former BBC presenter Dan Walker was another who highlighted Fitzpatrick’s omission, writing on Twitter: ‘I love #SPOTY but I’m surprised there is no space on the shortlist for @MattFitz94 who had an unbelievable year.’
Fans also questioned the decision, with one describing it as a ‘disgrace’ while another said it was a ‘sham’ that Fitzpatrick was committed to.
Ex-BBC presenter Dan Walker was another who questioned Fitzpatrick failing to make the cut
He became only the second Englishman to win the US Open since 1970 back in the summer
Matthew Fieldsend wrote: ‘How on earth is @MattFitz94 not included in the nominations! Absolutely shocking. How many majors does he need to win a year to get a nomination. Clearly 1 on US soil just isn’t good enough apparently.’
Oli Hunt added: ‘Absolute disgrace that @MattFitz94 isn’t on this list. The BBC may not be able to broadcast much golf and Matt may not be there in person, but the @BBCSport annual cold shoulder to golf is embarrassing.’
While @markg0366 commented: ‘#Spoty22 just seen the shortlist I think you’ve omitted @MattFitz94. I’m simply assuming it’s an upload to the website problem but be great to see it corrected speedily. Yours sincerely a diligent license payer.
Fitzpatrick was not the only sportsperson fans believe was unjustly excluded from the list, with many protesting against UFC star Leon Edwards’ absence.
Leon Edwards, who became Britain’s second UFC champion back in August, was also left out
Beth Mead leads the six nominees for the 2022 BBC Sports Personality of the Year award
Edwards secured one of the greatest last-minute knockouts in MMA history by landing welterweight champion Kamaru Usman to the point of no return in the dying stages of a fight he was destined to lose on points back in August.
Yet despite becoming Britain’s second UFC champion, like Fitzpatrick there was still no place for the 31-year-old on the SPOTY shortlist.
Mead, who inspired England’s football success at the Women’s European Championships this year, is the overwhelming favorite to be crowned winner.