Clarke nominated for BBC Sports Personality of the Year

Darren Clarke contemplates his achievement; his name amongst the game's greats.Open Champion Darren Clarke has been shortlisted for this year's BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.

It caps a remarkable year for the popular Northern Irishman who played some of the best golf of his career to win the 140th Open Championship at Royal St George’s in July.

U.S. Open Champion Rory McIlroy and world number one Luke Donald are also included on the short list of 10 who now have a chance of being crowned the 58th BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

The winner will be selected by public vote during the live show from MediaCityUK, Salford on Thursday, 22 December, presented by Sue Barker, Gary Linekar and Jake Humphrey.

Clarke finally won his first Major title at the 54th time of asking when he closed with a battling level par 70 to claim a three shot victory over Americans, Phil Mickleson and Dustin Johnson, at a windswept Royal St George’s.

Clarke, at the age of 42 years and 337 days, became the oldest player to win The Open since Roberto de Vicenzo, who was 44 years and 93 days old when he won the title at Hoylake in 1967.

Heading into this year’s Championship, Fred Daly, the 1947 champion, had been the only golfer from Northern Ireland to win The Open but all that changed as Clarke overhauled a strong initial challenge from Mickelson to claim a place among the immortals of the game.

Speaking shortly after his victory, the ecstatic Irishman said: “To sit here with this trophy means the world to me.

“I’ve dreamt since I was a kid that one day I would do this and, now I have, I can’t really believe it.”

Clarke, who was nominated for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award in 2006, is joined on the shortlist by Mark Cavendish (cycling), Alastair Cook (cricket), Mo Farah (athletics), Dai Greene (athletics), Amir Khan (boxing), Rory McIlroy, Luke Donald, Andy Murray (tennis) and Andrew Strauss (cricket).

In addition to the main award of Sports Personality of the Year, won in 2010 by jockey Tony McCoy, there will also be awards for: Team of the Year, Coach of the Year, Overseas Sports Personality of the Year, Young Sports Personality of the Year, Lifetime Achievement, Helen Rollason Award and Sports Unsung Hero.