It is exactly what Lewis Hamilton has been used to all year – a two-horse race for a title.
The BBC have revealed their shortlist for the Sports Personality award for 2014 and on the big night in Glasgow on December 14, you have to feel it will be either Grand Prix racer Hamilton or golfer Rory McIlroy who will be receiving the main prize.
The list of 10 is split evenly between male and female athletes this time round – some lessons have painfully been learned it would seem – but sadly the drama of Formula One’s bitter showdown between Mercedes ‘teammates’ Hamilton and Nico Rosberg and McIlroy’s wins Open Championship at Royal Liverpool and the US PGA Championship at Valhalla – plus his part in the Ryder Cup victory at Gleneagles – really do steal the show.
In many ways the other contenders do suffer just because of the disparity in coverage between sports.
This is not to criticise the balance because we all know what we want to watch, but for the likes of Charlotte Dujardin, in the dressage, gymnast Max Whitlock, swimmer Adam Peaty, boxer Carl Froch and even athlete Jo Pavey, who was quite remarkable in winning the 10,000m gold medal at the 2014 European Championships in Zurich at the age of 40, the opportunities to catch the limelight are few and far between.
Even for the Sochi Winter Olympian Lizzy Yarnold, who won gold for descending an ice mountain on a tea-tray or skeleton as it is strangely known, and skier Kelly Gallagher, and her guide Charlotte Evans, who won Great Britain’s first ever Winter Paralympic gold, their moment in the public conscience was also probably too fleeting for them to be real contenders for the crown,
The same cannot be said of footballer Gareth Bale, who can be seen on certain television channels every week strutting his stuff for Real Madrid.
Bale’s is a marvellous story of a rise to super-stardom culminating in scoring a goal as his team won the Champions League, but I am not so sure that footballers really sit too well with those who cast their votes for SPOTY, and possibly many think that top soccer stars get enough rewards for their talents as it is.
Certainly history would seem to suggest that could be the case as the past 10 winners include just one footballer in Ryan Giggs, with the Manchester United player gaining the 2009 award in what seemed a rather odd ‘well as he has been playing so long we better give him something’ kind of scenario.
So we are left with McIlroy and Hamilton, and personally I hope that if it does turn out to be a two-horse race that Hamilton this time will have to settle for second best.
If there is one thing you can say about McIlroy it is that he has grown into his position as No1 in the world in his sport with some class.
While his Open and PGA wins are great personal triumphs, I would argue McIlroy’s finest hour this year was his performance in the Ryder Cup.
While two wins and three points from a possible five was a strong contribution, the man from Northern Ireland showed just how big a team player he is as he inspired his colleagues and a noisy home crowd in pushing Europe to a massive 16.5 to 11.5 victory.
In contrast Hamilton may have been open and all smiles after his second World Championship was sealed in Abu Dhabi at the weekend, but reports from sections of the motorsport press and media suggest he was less than helpful in the build up.
While the pressure will have been immense, reportedly Hamilton chose to deal with it by being less than keen to offer any insight.
So if this award actually does what it says on the tin, then the real personality will come out on top.