What season is it? That’s right. ’Tis the season to be jolly. Or not, it seems, for those who have just watched the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year Awards.

If there’s one thing that SPOTY is guaranteed to produce on an annual basis, then it’s a riot of crotchety, cantankerous carpings from a raft of brassed-off observers who go to great lengths to harrumph about how much they despise SPOTY and why SPOTY is not worth watching any more while continuing to watch SPOTY and telling all and sundry that they are still in fact watching SPOTY but are bloomin’ well going to make sure that everybody knows how much they are not actually enjoying watching SPOTY. Oh well, let’s start with SPOTY then . . .

It’s SPOTY the ball as far as golf is concerned


Back in ye day, the Sports Personality of the Year Award was an elegant, authoritative pre-Christmas gala full of neatly pressed shirts, demure dresses, classy coiffures and subtle colognes. Or something like that. Rather like gazing at a vintage Christmas card that stirs up a nostalgic, rosy-cheeked yearning for a simpler festive spirit, SPOTY’s descent into a bloated yet largely vacuous monstrosity makes you pine for those cherished days of yore.

Of course, back in SPOTY’s pomp, there were great reams of footage to show as comprehensive reviews of a variety of sporting seasons were pored over.

Nowadays, the lack of anything to show leads to the kind of cumbersome padding you used to get on the shoulders of one of Krystle Carrington’s jackets in an episode of Dynasty.

Given the BBC’s diminishing sporting portfolio, it will probably get to the stage when the highlights of the year are re-enacted through the medium of shadow puppetry.

Those of us in the golfing world, meanwhile, love a good grumble at the lack of SPOTY airtime devoted to the Royal & Ancient game, and such grousing is becoming as

much a part of the Christmas period as belching, abdominal bloat. The insular old sods that we are, eh?

But, in a Solheim Cup-winning year for Europe in Scotland and a jubilant return to Northern Ireland of The Open, golf, as usual, was essentially given the blink-and-you’ll-miss it SPOTY treatment. It will, no doubt, get worse.

READ MORE: Stoddart gives young Scots a Bounce

In 2020, the last major remnant of live golfing coverage on the Beeb will be lost as The Masters moves exclusively to Sky for all four tournament days.

In recent years, the final two rounds had been shown live on the BBC, with the hoary whimsy of Peter Alliss and Ken Brown’s quirky, on-course capers, at least providing some light relief from Sky’s cooing, fawning reverence of all things Augusta.

This particular rite of spring on the BBC was one of the last great platforms for a non-golfing public in the UK.

Out of sight, out of mind? The retreat of the game from the nation’s consciousness, sadly, continues.

Reed digs himself a deeper hole


Remember when Patrick Reed’s goading histrionics led to him making “shooshing” gestures towards the crowd during the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles?

You possibly thought he was a cocky little so-and-so but nothing more than that. His antics at last weekend’s Presidents Cup in Australia, though, had a much darker side.

A few days after being branded a cheat, having been captured on camera removing sand from behind his ball during an event in the Bahamas, Reed responded to heckling fans in Melbourne by holing a putt and then miming a shovelling motion as he walked off the green.

READ MORE: Reed's intentions far from honourable

It was a crass, indignant action amid a sorry episode that should have led to humility and contrition but instead has prompted petty posturing, unedifying defiance and limp victimhood from the former Masters champion.

The fact the PGA Tour promoted the clip of him noising up the fans on a cheery social media post – a leading official of the very same tour had laughingly called Reed a “gentleman” for the way he accepted his penalty in the Bahamas the previous week – made a further mockery of the whole affair: “Look folks, he cheated and now let’s have a chortle about it.”

If those supposedly charged with protecting the integrity of the game are happy to sweep it under the carpet, then what chance have we got?

Life begins at 50 for young’un Lawrie


It wasn’t that long ago that Paul Lawrie’s aches, pains, hirples and hobbles had left him seriously pondering retirement from the game he has served with great dignity, dedication and desire.

Here, at the end of 2019, the former Open champion has a spring in that hitherto agonised step.

After the season-ending event on the Staysure Tour, formerly the European Senior Tour, in Mauritius at the weekend, Lawrie was confirmed as the circuit’s rookie of the year.

His debut season among the golfing oldies included an emotional win on home turf in the Scottish Senior Open back in August.

In this game of great longevity, where age is certainly no barrier to success, Lawrie’s sporting life is beginning again at 50.