You could hardly have denied cyclist Mark Cavendish the honour of BBC Sports Personality of the Year last night, but it surely must have been a close run thing with golf’s Darren Clarke.
The Northern Irishman combined sheer guts and determination with that raw talent so many fans new he had to win the Open earlier on in the year. His victory was so heavily against the odds that very few could have predicted it.
But Clarke’s win at Royal St Georges surely will go down as one of the most memorable. It had everything: high drama, high skill and high emotion.
It seems like tough luck that he did not get the coveted BBC award then – but it is something akin to the Oscars in 1994, when Morgan Freeman missed out on the Best Actor award for his role in the Shawshank Redemption, simply because he had met his match in Tom Hanks with Forest Gump.
The standard of entries this year seemed far greater than it had been for a long time, and on any other year, Clarke would surely have been a shoe in for the award.
It was not to be a night without awards for Britain’s golfers, however, as Lauren Taylor collected the Young Sports Personality of the Year title.
The 17-year-old became the youngest winner of the Ladies’ British Open Amateur Championship, with her success in June this year. It was a well-deserved award, as she fought off stiff competition from cyclist Lucy Garner and swimmer Eleanor Simmonds.
Ryder Cup star and world number 25 golfer Ian Poulter was full of praise for Taylor after she received the award.
He said: “She is not only a great golfer but an extremely well-rounded young woman.
“Lauren is a deserving winner of the award and has my full support as she moves forward with her golfing career.”
Diver, Tom Daley for three of the past four years, had won the award.
It is presented to the young sportsperson perceived to have made the most outstanding contribution aged 16 or under on January 1, 2011. Previous winners have included Daley, Andy Murray, Wayne Rooney and Theo Walcott.
With it being Christmas time though, these acts will be hoping to relax, play some poker over at http://www.pokerstars.co.uk/poker/games/ and go again in 2012!
Popularity: 7% [?]