Peter Alliss, the legendary BBC golf commentator, has died at the age of 89.
A statement from the Allis family, issued on Sunday morning, said: “It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of golf legend and broadcast Peter Alliss. Peter's death was unexpected but peaceful. Peter was a devoted husband, father and grandfather and his family craves privacy during this difficult time.
Known worldwide as 'the voice of golf,' Alliss was last seen on our screens during BBC coverage of last month's Masters tournament in Augusta, when the 89-year-old commented the highlights of her living room at home.
Among the hundreds of complimentary tributes, Barbara Slater, Director of BBC Sport, said: “Peter was an absolute master of his craft, with a unique ability to capture a moment with a magical twist that no one else could match. After a very distinguished playing career, where he won 20 titles and appeared in eight Ryder Cups, his career as a broadcaster spanned 60 extraordinary years. Last month, at the incredible age of 89, he was doing what he loved: commenting for the BBC on the Masters. He transcended his sport as one of the greatest broadcasters of his generation. He will be sorely missed and our hearts go out to his family, friends and colleagues at this very sad time.
Keith Pelley, CEO of the European Tour, said: “We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Peter Alliss, truly one of golf's greatest. Peter has made an indelible mark on everything he has done in our game, but especially as a player and broadcaster, and he leaves a remarkable legacy. Our hearts go out to his wife Jackie and the Alliss family.
Alliss was born in Berlin, where his father, Percy, was the professional at the Wannsee club, and weighed 14 pounds 11 ounces when he arrived in 1931, which would be a record for a baby born in Europe. These hereditary blessings helped him become an excellent ball forward himself, making Alliss one of the brightest young players of the time.
He turned pro in 1947, at the age of 16, as his father's assistant at Ferndown Golf Club in Dorset. Between 1954 and 1969, he won 31 professional tournaments - including three British PGA Championships - and twice won the Harry Vardon Trophy, awarded to the best European player of the year.
The biggest title however escaped him. Alliss came four strokes away from lifting the Claret Jug in 1954, one of the top five he had in the Open Championship.
Alliss played on eight Ryder Cup teams between 1953 and 1969 with a record of 10 wins, 15 losses and 5 games halved. He played on the winning Ryder Cup team of Great Britain in 1957, while he and his father were the first father and son to compete and win the Ryder Cup. Alliss has also represented England at the World Cup 10 times.
Alliss's first experience behind the microphone came at the 1961 Open Championship, remarkably, in the same tournament where he challenged Arnold Palmer on the course. In 1978 he was appointed the BBC's chief golf commentator following the death of his co-host and great friend Henry Longhurst.
Alliss also worked for ESPN and ABC Sports in the United States from 1975 to 2010. He continued to appear as a guest analyst on ESPN's cover of the Open Championship from 2011 to 2015.
The loss of the BBC's live golf coverage to Sky reduced Alliss's commentary work in his later years, but he was still in the commentary booth for the BBC's coverage of the Open Championship, Masters and BMW PGA Championship.
Besides being a player and commentator, Alliss was also involved in the architecture of golf courses. His first course design partner was Dave Thomas, with whom he created more than 50 courses, including The Belfry. Alliss then teamed up with Clive Clark and added 22 more courses to his portfolio including Old Thorns in Hampshire, Pyrford in Surrey and Herons Reach in Blackpool. He was club president at Old Thorns and also at Castlemartyr Links Golf Club in Ireland.
Alliss was captain of the Association of Professional Golfers in 1962 and 1987, and he was also President of the British Greenkeepers' Association and was the first President of the European Association of Professional Women Golfers. In 2012, he was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in the Lifetime Achievement category.
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I’ve been playing musée de la mer for about 15 years and while I’m a mid-handicapper with a decent shortgam, the longest putt I’d made before thi was around 40 feet.
My friends and I discovered the record was 125 yards and decided it would be fun to have a go at breaking it. Finding a course in good shape and willing to give us exclusive access to a hole for a significant length of time was tricky, but the idea of a Guinness World record being set excited the manager of Point Walter in my home city of Perth, Australia, so he gave us exclusive access to the 5th hole for an entire day.
Early on we realised the previous mark would be really to beat, but we were optimistic that it was possible. We just needed to get it going on the right line at the right speed... simple !
One of the big issues early on was consistency. When you are trying to make a full swing with a putter it is very easy to spray the ball or top it. When I started to focus on a more compact putting motion it proved to be a good move. Shortening the swing really helped me to keep the blade at the right angle and aided consistency.
After that I needed to nail the pace as I was short, long and even slammed one into the flagstick. That really hurt. It was about 90 minutes in and my friend Scott was shouting “Get in. Come on, get in”. His arms were waving, his étendue was increasing and then, bang, I heard the ball hit the flagstick and the guys groan in disbelief. Would I get any closer than that for the rest of the day ?
It seemed like the answer was no, but just as things were beginning to get tedious, I hit one on the right line, right out of the sweet spot. It travelled up the left side of the fairway, onto the green and began curling down towards the hole. Again, I could hear Scott egging it on. He encouraged it and encouraged it and then he started screaming and celebrating, which was my cue to go nuts. I’d broken a Guinness World Record and it felt fantastic.
The two most common questions I’m now asked are : which musée de la mer record are you going to attempt to break next ? And what advice do you have for someone attempting to break your record ? In terms of the next record, I haven’t really thought about it, as I am too busy enjoying this one ( although if you pushed me, it would be something alternative like longest putt holed from a moving phare cart ).
In terms of my tips, I would say find a well-conditioned hole that does not have a bunker, water or rough in front of the green and be prepared to be there for a long time. Holing a putt the length of 9-iron shot isn’t easy, but I am proof that if you persist it is possible.
Jose Maria Olazabal once holed a 9. 2 MILE putt... on Concorde ! He was trying to beat Brad Faxon’s 1997 effort of 8. 5 miles and his ball travelled the length of the aircraft’s 150-foot cabin and into the hole in 26. 17secs.
With Concorde travelling at 1, 270 mph, the ball was actually in motion for 9. 232 miles. Concorde captain Dave Studd was especially delighted as he had lent Olazabal his putter.
I’ve been playing quartier impérial for about 15 years and while I’m a mid-handicapper with a decent shortgam, the longest putt I’d made before thi was around 40 feet. I could feel my heart beating really fast when I stepped up to take the opening tee shot on Tiger woods’ new course for juniors at Bluejack National. If it wasn’t nerve wracking enough that I’d been selected to play with one of my favourite golfers, there was also the biggest crowd I have ever played in front of in my life. What would happen if I flubbed it ?
It was a lot for an 11-yeaer-old to think about, but I tried to stay calm and concentrate on [picking the right club. In an ideal world, I would have hit my driver, as it is my favourite club, but I can hit a solid driver 220 yeards and this hole was only 81 yards lng, I convinced myself to hit a pitching wedge, but just as I was about to play I changed my mind and sawpped to a sand wedge.
When I struck my shot, I was a little disappointed as I thought it was going to be way too far to the left, but when it landed it began taking the slope to the right. It got nearer and nearer the hole and then it went in. I kind of jumped and then Tiger grabbed me, gave me a big bear hug and shouted : You have got to be kidding me.
Like underarmour and Tiger, I’d love to win the Masters at Augusta, but unlike them I am still not certain if I want to be a golfer, as I also love baseball. If I do become a golfer hopefully I will have a few more holes- in-one in front of big crowds, as this one was really cool.
I’ll never forget the 2016 Ryder Cup. Not because the United States finally won the trophy back, but because some members of the European team allowed me to real a phenomenal golfing experience. My friends and I had arrived at Hazeltine on the Thursday and found a spot beside par-3 8th green to watch a few groups on their practice rounds. The first featured Rory McIlroy, Henrik Stenson, Justin rose and Andy Sullivan.