HE marshalled them both in Europe’s Ryder Cup victory over the United States, but Colin Montgomerie admits he favours Graeme McDowell over Lee Westwood in the battle to be Sports Personality of the Year.
Montgomerie has heaped praise on Westwood for toppling Tiger Woods from the peak of the world rankings, and has tipped the Englishman to claim a long-awaited maiden Major at the Masters in April.
Yet the Scot rates McDowell’s comeback victory at the US Open in June as his favourite sporting memory of 2010, and concedes the Northern Irishman is a fraction more deserving than Westwood of the annual BBC award.
“It’s very difficult,” said Montgomerie. “Lee being No1 is a big, big event for Europe; we haven’t had a No1 for a while.
“Graeme McDowell produced in my view not just the golfing moment of the year but the sporting moment of the year. As US Open champion, you would just possibly favour Graeme, if the vote went for golf.”
Westwood and McDowell are part of a 10-man shortlist for the award, which will be announced on 19 December. Jockey Tony McCoy is among the favourites to win.
Montgomerie, 47, is still basking in the glory of his successful stint as captain at Celtic Manor, but says his thoughts are turning to resuming playing – with an addition to his tally of 40 tournament victories at the top of his wish list.
“If I can win again I’ll be absolutely thrilled,” he added.
“Because it’s getting tougher. Any tournament in Europe now is going to contain strength at the top end that has to be beaten. And it gets harder and harder.”