World golf number one Rory McIlroy is the only non-Olympian to earn a place on the 12-strong shortlist for this year’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.
McIlroy has reacted with pride to the news and - as expected - stars of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games dominate the list, while five female athletes have made the cut in contrast to last year’s controversial all-male shortlist.
Northern Ireland’s McIlroy, who won his second Major title this year and finished top of both the US and European money lists, said: “I am delighted to be nominated again for Sports Personality of the Year.
“It is a real honour to be nominated two years in a row. With it being an Olympic year, and with so many outstanding achievements in British sport in 2012, the voting is sure to go right down to the wire.”
In March McIlroy went to number one for the first time by winning in Florida after Tiger Woods had shot a closing 62.
At the weekend he won in Dubai after Justin Rose had shot a closing 62.
He endured something of a mini-crisis in between with four missed cuts in five starts, but he soon silenced his critics in convincing fashion.
Just as he did for his first major at the US Open last year, he left the best of the rest eight shots back.
McIlroy then secured consecutive successes during the FedEx Cup play-offs, plus a Ryder Cup celebration that so easily could have been a wake if he had missed his tee-off time.
He then won the money lists on both sides of the Atlantic before signing off with his DP World Tour title on Sunday.
“I guess the PGA is going to be my highlight,” he said.
“The Ryder Cup is up there as well, but it will be nice to have a few weeks off and think back about all the great moments of the year.”
The main award will be chosen by public vote and announced at the Sports Personality of the Year show from London’s ExCeL centre on December 16.