Rory McIlroy is early favourite for SPOTY award

It’s neck and neck between Rory McIlroy and Lewis Hamilton as two of sport’s biggest heavyweights battle it out to win the prestigious BBC Sports Personality of the Year award after being confirmed among this year’s shortlist of 10 contenders.

McIlroy is a double major winner and strong odds-on favourite to capture the award and become the first golfer to win since Nick Faldo in 1989 – having also helped Europe to Ryder Cup glory this year.

But the Nike golfer will face stiff opposition in the form of F1 star Lewis Hamilton, who claimed a second Formula One title in Abu Dhabi this past Sunday, which has left him in a great position to grab the award when the winner is announced in Glasgow on December 14.

Last year’s winner Andy Murray was left off this year’s list, which was chosen by a panel of former nominees, television sport executives and newspaper sports editors.

Boxer Carl Froch, Real Madrid footballer Gareth Bale, gymnastics silver medallist Max Whitlock and multipule European and Commonwealth Games swimming gold medallist Adam Peaty also make the list.

Veteran European athletics champion Jo Pavey and dressage rider Charlotte Dujardin join Winter Olympic gold medallist Lizzy Yarnold and Britain’s first Winter Paralympic champion Kelly Gallagher – with her guide Charlotte Evans – to round off the 2014 shortlist.