‘I can retire a happy man’ – Matt Fitzpatrick wins first major title at US Open
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Ian Poulter has dismissed the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award as a “farce” and a “joke” after US Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick was left off the shortlist.
And a furious Tony Jacklin, who never won the award, called on the Corporation to “treat golf with the respect the sport deserves.”
England star Beth Mead is the odds-on favourite to win the trophy on Wednesday night after starring in the Lionesses’ Euro 2022 triumph. The politically-correct shortlist is completed by Jessica Gadirova, Eve Muirhead, Ben Stokes, Ronnie O’Sullivan and Jake Wightman. All their sports are also covered by the BBC.
Fitzpatrick produced a magical 9-iron from a fairway bunker to win his Major title in stunning style at Brookline in June.
And his Ryder Cup team-mate Poulter took to Twitter to say: “Sorry but complete disregard for @mattfitz94 makes this event a continued farce and joke. I experienced first hand how much of a joke this was 10 years ago. Promised myself then I’d never waste time attending or watching again.”
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Poulter was part of the 2012 Ryder Cup team which lost out to the GB Olympics team but golf has regularly been shunned by the BBC awards. Only Dai Rees (1957) and Sir Nick Faldo (1989) have won the individual awards while Darren Clarke lost out to Zara Philips in 2006 despite Europe’s emotional Ryder Cup win at the K Club.
Jacklin said: “I’m absolutely fuming. Matt is only the second Englishman, along with Justin Rose in 2013, to win the US Open in the last 52 years. What more does he need to do to gain the recognition he deserves?
“It seems as though golf can never get any sort of plaudits from the BBC – and it’s something that goes way back. I won The Open in 1969 and the US Open in 1970 but, in both years, that was only deemed good enough for second place in the Sports Personality of the Year Show. It really is time the BBC started to wake up and smell the roses/coffee. They need to treat golf with the respect the sport deserves.”
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Fitzpatrick found himself just one shot ahead of playing partner Will Zalatoris in Brooklin when he drove into fairway bunker on the final hole. But what followed will go down in golf folklore.
The 28-year-old executed an incredible bunker shot, landing on the green and securing the par he needed. He later declared he could ‘retire happy’ following his first major championship win.
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