London, England: Tributes have been pouring in for Peter Alliss, known globally as the ‘Voice of Golf’, following his passing yesterday.
An eight-time Ryder Cup player, 31-time tournament winner, golf course designer, author and legendary golf commentator, Alliss died aged 89 suddenly and peacefully at home.
In 2012, Alliss was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame for his services to golf and just last month he commentated for the final time on the BBC’s coverage of the 2020 Masters Tournament from home.
“Sad to learn that golf lost one of its great players, broadcasters, writers, ambassadors and, most important, one of the game’s true friends, with the unexpected passing of Peter Alliss. Peter was a dear friend to Barbara and me for probably over 60 years,” said Jack Nicklaus, whose sentiments were echoed around the globe.
Tom Watson tweeted: “You made our game richer and funnier, Peter. We thank you. RIP.”
Keith Pelley, Chief Executive Officer of the European Tour, said: “We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Peter Alliss, truly one of golf’s greats. Peter made an indelible mark on everything he did in our game, but especially as a player and a broadcaster, and he leaves a remarkable legacy. Our thoughts are with his wife Jackie and the Alliss family.”
Former Ryder Cup Captain and player Brian Huggett, who was part of three Great Britain & Ireland Ryder Cup teams in the 1960s alongside Alliss, said: “Peter did so much for golf, both on and off the course. His wonderful voice, humour and knowledge will be missed by golfers everywhere.”
Among non-golfers to send their condolences to the Alliss family was actor and comedian John Cleese. “Sad to hear of Peter Alliss’s death. The most sane and comforting voice I ever heard. I always thought that I could cope with the ending of the world, if only Peter was commentating on it,” tweeted Cleese.
Son of Percy Alliss, a prominent golfer in the 1920s and 1930s who played in four Ryder Cups, Peter turned professional aged 16 and became an assistant pro to his father at Ferndown Golf Club.
After serving two years of national service for the RAF between 1949 and 1951, he started to find success in the professional game, winning his first title in the 1952 Gor-Ray Cup – the PGA Assistant Professionals Championship at the time.
After a top-10 in the Open Championship in 1953, followed by a third placed finish in the Irish Open, Alliss earned selection for his first Ryder Cup appearance. With the exception of the 1955 edition, he represented Great Britain and Ireland in each Ryder Cup until 1969 – winning once in 1957.
In 1958, Alliss won three national Opens in a row, in the Italian Open, Spanish Open and Portugal Open, while in 1961, he worked his first tournament as a broadcaster for the BBC – The Open Championship at Royal Birkdale – where he also played. He retired as a playing professional and became BBC’s lead commentator in 1978.
In a broadcasting career which spanned more than 40 years, Alliss developed into one of the game’s greatest commentators, winning the hearts of Britain and the world with his dulcet tones and sharp wit.
As well as commentating regularly for the BBC, he also worked for ESPN and ABC Sports as well as the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
As a much-loved broadcasting personality in Britain, he appeared on various television shows, while his illustrated book Peter Alliss’ Golf Heroes won the ‘Best Illustrated Book’ category of the British Sports Book Awards in 2003.