GOLF: Vote for our kid!

THE Coleraine Times is calling on the people of the borough to crown a remarkable year for Graeme McDowell and back him in his bid to be named BBC Sports Personality of the Year for 2010.

It would cap a remarkable year for the Portrush golfer who became the first Briton to win the US Open since Tony Jacklin 40 years previous.

McDowell followed that up by securing the Ryder Cup for Europe as he held his nerve to see off Hunter Mahan and send Celtic Manor in to raptures.

He also won the Welsh Open, Andalucian Masters and at the Chevron International at the start of December after narrowly missing out on the Race to Dubai

to Martin Kaymer.

Now though he is set to battle out with fellow Ulsterman Tony McCoy for the BBC honour which would crown a dramatic rise for McDowell. He is a serious

candidate on the grounds that he has personality as well as a winning talent.

"When I think about myself being among the athletes in that room (the LG Arena, Birmingham], just to be there is some-thing pretty special," said McDowell.

"I've watched the programme for many years. All my heroes have been there, the absolute elite of British sport, a special list of names. Being noticed is a new ex-

perience for me. Golfers are not on the back pages like the Beckhams and Rooneys of this world.

"And I'm not like a Sergio Garcia or a Rory McIlroy, thrust into the limelight every week. I wasn't a boy wonder like them. A lot of people would have been thinking who the hell I was after picking up the US Open."

McDowell's club, Rathmore, are also calling on the local public to get behind their man.

The club is hosting a special party on Sunday night when they will be holding a charity raffe with a number of US Open items signed by Graeme up for grabs.

"It would be a fantastic way to round off the year for Graeme and for us at Rathmore if he wins it," said Jim Blee of Rathmore GC.

"I'd urge everyone to get behind him and phone in and vote for Graeme. He really deserves it."

East Londonderry MP Gregory Campbell has also thrown his weight behind the campaign.

Mr Campbell and his party colleagues have tabled a motion in the House of Commons congratulating Graeme on his success in winning the US Open and stating their belief that he deserves Sports Personality accolade.

The local MP said: "Graeme's success at both the US Open and the Ryder Cup this year have placed him as one of the world's top golfers. As a Portrush man he

is a source of great pride for people on the north coast, but also to Northern Ireland as a whole and I believe he deserves to be recognised as the BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

"I would urge people to get behind Graeme and give him their support for this honour. It does say something of Northern Ireland's sporting achievements however that he will be competing against another local sportsman in Tony McCoy for the BBC prize."

Telephone voting opens during the show on BBC One this Sunday, which gets underway at 7pm.