Rory McIlroy is now an odds-on bookies’ favourite to be crowned Sports Personality of the Year (SPOTY) following his weekend victory at The Open golf championship.
The 25-year-old looks set to become one of only a handful of golfing greats to clinch all four majors if he triumphs at The Masters during his, thus far, sparkling career.
As McIlroy was closing in on the famous Claret Jug at Royal Liverpool on Sunday evening, the odds on a SPOTY win began to tumble. He is now listed as low as 8/13 with many bookmakers while Ladbrokes were yesterday quoting 4/5 – well ahead of Formula One’s Lewis Hamilton as second favourite at 4/1 and rugby legend Jonny Wilkinson at 8/1.
A spokeswoman for Ladbrokes said: “Rory’s Open win has propelled him straight to the top of the SPOTY market, he is the only shining light in what has been a terrible summer for British sport. As far as the odds are concerned, it’s Rory’s to lose.”
His fellow Ulster sporting legend AP McCoy also features in the top 15 favourites with typical odds of 66/1.
With the Co Antrim jockey named RTE’s sports personality of the year in November 2013, having sent records tumbling when he passed the 4,000 winners mark, those odds will appear generous to many.
Bangor’s Kelly Gallagher – the partially sighted skier who won Britain’s first-ever Winter Paralympic gold medal at Sochi 2014 – is also among the top 20 favourites. Further down the list is golfer Graeme McDowell. The former US Open winner is quoted at odds of 150/1 to lift the prestigious trophy.
The winner will be announced during the BBC awards show in Glasgow on December 14.