Darren Clarke last night rubbished claims that he wants to withdraw his name from the BB Sports Personality of the Year ballot.

The Ryder Cup hero was rumoured to have called on the BBC to take him off the voting sheet as he did not want to win it solely on the basis of the recent death of his wide Heather.

A spokesman for Clarke said: "It's absolute rubbish. Darren would never tell people what way they can vote and has certainly not asked to be taken off the ballot."

The speculation over Clarke's position grew when his odds with Betfair changed from around 4-9 to more than 5-4, with a lot of money on the lay side.

However, he was still the favourite with Betfair ahead of Zara Philips with tennis player Andrew Murray rated third favourite to lift the award on December 10.

Clarke is a popular choice among voters following his heroics in the Ryder Cup just seven weeks after the death of his wife.

He is due in Sligo today to launch his golf course design at Castle Dargan.

Meanwhile, Eamonn Darcy crashed to a share of 12th place behind inner Gordon J Brand in the Spanish Seniors Championship in Castellon.

Tied third overnight, Darcy closed with a 74 to finish eight drift of Brand Jnr on five under.

The English senior won by two from Carl Mason and Sam Torrance with Greg Norman sixth and Jimmy Heggarty eighth after a 69.