Ryder Cup heroes Graeme McDowell and Lee Westwood have been nominated for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award, while Race to Dubai champion Martin Kaymer is in contention for the equivalent award in Germany.
Northern Irishman McDowell claimed the winning point as Europe beat the United States 14½-13½ at The Celtic Manor Resort in October, as well as clinching his first Major Championship at the US Open in June and two other titles on The European Tour International Schedule, pushing Kaymer all the way in The Race to Dubai.
Westwood reached World Number One in November after another fine season and was also instrumental in Europe’s regaining of The Ryder Cup, winning two and a half points from four and thriving in his role as the Team’s talisman.
If either wins the coveted award, it will be the first time it has been given to a golfer since 1989, when it went to Sir Nick Faldo. Dai Rees, in 1957, is the only other golfer to be named BBC Sports Personality of the Year, while Tony Jacklin, Sandy Lyle, Ian Woosnam and Darren Clarke have been named in either second or third place.
McDowell posted on Twitter: “After a 16 hour Dubai – LA flight I’ve just found out that I have been officially nominated for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award. Amazing to even be nominated for such a prestigious award alongside some legends of their sport.”
Kaymer won four times in 2010, including his maiden Major at the US PGA Championship, and was crowned Europe’s Number One last week with season earnings of nearly €5million. He is the first German golfer since Bernhard Langer to reach the European summit and, at 25, the youngest since Ronan Rafferty in 1989.
Like McDowell and Westwood, Kaymer was also part of The 2010 European Ryder Cup Team.
The German revealed he had been nominated for Germany’s Sports Personality of the Year award but believes he will lose out to Sebastien Vettel, the Formula One driver who recently won the World Championship.
Kaymer said: “I heard that I was nominated for it, and I think I had a fairly good chance, but now he has won the World Championship. It’s fair enough. The best should win. Formula One is bigger than golf in Germany. His performance this year was great. Maybe I can still battle him a little bit.”
McDowell and Westwood are in fine company as the other nominees are cyclist Mark Cavendish, diver Tom Daley, heptathlete Jessica Ennis, boxer David Haye, jockey Tony McCoy, darts player Phil Taylor, cricketer Graeme Swann and skeleton rider Amy Williams.
The 2010 European Ryder Cup Team, led by Captain Colin Montgomerie, is also in the running for the BBC Team of the Year award following their thrilling victory over Corey Pavin’s Americans.
The live awards ceremony will take place in Birmingham on Sunday December 19 and public voting will take place during the show.