Ryder Cup hero Darren Clarke has emerged as the bookies' favourite to win the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award for 2006.
The Northern Irishman was a key performer for the European team which convincingly beat the USA at the K Club near Dublin, competing with distinction just six weeks after his wife Heather lost her battle with cancer.
The 38-year-old is now 1/2 favourite with William Hill to top the end-of-year poll, while the bookmaker lists showjumper Zara Phillips as second favourite at 11/4 after she won gold at the World Equestrian Games.
Andy Murray is third at 9/1 after breaking into the top 20 in the world in tennis, with England's new cricketing cult hero Monty Panesar 16/1.
William Hill spokesman Graham Sharpe told PA Sport: ``Darren Clarke's emotional roller-coaster ride through the Ryder Cup has captured the imagination of punters - who are not usually noted for allowing sentiment to influence their betting decisions.
``But Darren was a 5/1 chance when the Ryder Cup got under way and was steadily backed down throughout the event.
``By Sunday he was down to 3/1 and as soon as the winning putt dropped our phones started ringing madly with people wanting to back him. We have taken bets of up to €4,000 a time for him, and at the moment he is the only person people want to back. There won't be a dry eye in the studio if he does.''