The task of writing the Christmas cards is normally one that I do each year on the same day as the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year 2015 programme. It sets a memorable deadline for the job and I view settling down in front of the box to watch it as a just reward after writing out the one hundred or so cards, putting them in the envelopes and addressing them too.  Putting down the pen and lifting a glass of red is ideal therapy for the cramp ridden hand.

So last night was especially one to look forward to with the real opportunity that a golfer would follow in the footsteps of Dai Rees and Nick Faldo and lift the famous trophy. With Simple Minds barely halfway through the opening set, my phone vibrated with the first tweet of the night – this one from my nephew - #Hamilton.  And with that interruption I knew that the chances that Rory McIlroy would indeed be the victor had disappeared as fast as Lewis roaring off the grid from pole position.

The resultant shock waves from the golfing community when Rory was confirmed as the runner-up, second placed, loser were entirely expected unless of course you spent a little time thinking about it.

Rory got 123,745 votes, about 20% of the total vote, or about 8% of the number of golfers with a handicap in the UK and less than 4% of the number of people who play golf. In our sports hour of need we simply didn’t stand by our man. Most BBC viewers have had the opportunity to watch Formula 1 from March to November in a prime time Sunday afternoon slot. Hamilton would be able to ride the wave of the popular vote buoyed by support from the Nicole Scherzinger fan club too.

The programme is very different now than the ones I remember. Most sport has migrated from the terrestrial channels to satellite TV and that that has remained is often on channels other than the BBC. It’s clear to see that the Beeb has to stitch together a prestigious highlights and awards programme when most of the important sporting events have been covered elsewhere. The major sports of Premier League Football, Cricket, Rugby, Golf and Horse Racing that used to dominate BBC sport coverage are now reduced to fleeting montages courtesy of other channels.

To be honest of the 10 contenders for the main award, I had only heard of four of them (McIlroy, Hamilton, Bale and Froch). When it came to the Coach of the Year award Paul McGinley, Captain of the victorious European Ryder Cup team in one of the most globally televised sporting events, had to compete with the other BBC’s sport powerhouses of GB Swimming, Frochs boxing trainer and the bloke who led the Women’s Rugby Team to World Cup victory. I’m sure that even David Moyes could have made that list if he had survived a season.

If we ever get the chance that another golfer, hopefully Rory, is up for the trophy again then we will all have to grit our teeth, pay the 15p call charge and vote for our man. In my mind loyalty to your sport is an important value. So instead of seeing two time 2014 golf major winner Rory lift another trophy with his Omega Seamaster on, we golfers had to watch the victorious Formula One World Champion Lewis lift it wearing his IWC Pilot’s watch. At least that made me smile.

Have a good Christmas.

Yours in golf,

Gary Butler