Sports Personality of the Year presenter Gary Lineker has expressed his surprise at Matt Fitzpatrick’s failure to make the 2022 shortlist despite the golf star’s success at this year’s US Open.
The BBC announced the six nominees for their annual awards on Tuesday, with Beth Mead, Ben Stokes, Ronnie O’Sullivan, Jessica Gadirova, Eve Muirhead and Jake Wightman ahead of her. On Wednesday night, Mead took the prize ahead of second-placed Ben Stokes and Eve Muirhead in third.
This year’s shortlist has sparked plenty of controversy after leaving out several successful British athletes, but none has 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 tirade
Beth Mead was crowned BBC Sports Personality of the Year for 2022 on Wednesday
Mead led England to Euro 2022 glory as the Lionesses beat Germany 2-1 in the final
After discovering the golf star hadn’t made it, 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 outlasted fellow Brit Rory McIlroy on his way to the title.
However, despite being only the second Englishman to claim victory in the tournament since 1970, there is still no room for him on the SPOTY shortlist.
Ian Poulter led the backlash against Fitzpatrick’s removal on Twitter, branding the awards ceremony a ‘constant 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 in 2013, also questioned why the 28-year-old failed to secure a place among the six nominees.
And now Lineker, who is set to perform at SPOTY on Wednesday night, has become the latest high-profile figure to suggest Fitzpatrick should be included.
Ian Poulter led the backlash against SPOTY on Twitter after Fitzpatrick was left out
Poulter has branded the awards a ‘constant farce and joke’ while insisting he doesn’t watch them
Former US Open champion Justin Rose joined Poulter in slamming the decision to fire Fitzpatrick
The BBC host wrote on Twitter: ‘Starting rehearsals for @BBCSPOTY and seeing the list of contenders doesn’t contain @MattFitz94!’ along with two surprised face emojis.
A golfer hasn’t 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 10 nominees, with the cut to six 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’s no space on the shortlist for @MattFitz94 who had a no credible year.’
Fans also questioned the decision, with one describing it as a ‘disaster’ while another said it was a ‘sham’ that Fitzpatrick was sacked.
Former BBC presenter Dan Walker was another questioner of Fitzpatrick that didn’t make the cut
He became only the second Englishman to win the US Open since 1970 last summer
Matthew Fieldsend wrote: ‘Oh no @MattFitz94 is in the nominations! It’s really shocking. How many majors does he have to win in a year to get a nomination. Obviously 1 on US soil alone is not good enough it seems.’
Oli Hunt added: ‘Absolute shame @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 @BBCSport’s annual cold shoulder to golf is embarrassing.’
While @markg0366 commented: ‘Just saw #Spoty22 on the shortlist I think you’ve removed @MattFitz94. I just assumed it was an upload to the website problem but it’s great to see it corrected so quickly. You are a diligent license payer at heart.’
Fitzpatrick isn’t the only sportsperson fans believe was unfairly left off the list, with many protesting the absence of UFC star Leon Edwards.
Edwards pulled off one of the greatest last-minute knockouts in MMA history by flooring welterweight champion Kamaru Usman to the point of no return in the dying stages of a fight he was set to lose on points in August.
But despite being Britain’s second UFC champion, like Fitzpatrick there is still no place for the 31-year-old on SPOTY’s shortlist.
Leon Edwards, who became Britain’s second UFC champion in August, was also left out