Peter Alliss - 1931-2020
Peter Alliss, the eight-time Ryder Cup player, 31-time tournament winner, golf course designer, author and legendary golf commentator known universally as the ‘Voice of Golf’, has died aged 89 following a short battle with illness.
One of the most renowned and popular names in the sport thanks to his decades of service as commentator for the BBC, Alliss passed away at his Surrey 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. Due to the pandemic, he was provided with equipment to commentate from home.
Having been born into golfing royalty in 1931 – his father Percy was a prominent golfer in the 1920s and 1930s and played in four Ryder Cups – Alliss displayed an obvious talent for the game from an early age. He 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 ten in The 1953 Open Championship 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 would represent 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 would span over 40 years, Alliss would become widely renowned as 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 would appear 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.
Keith Pelley, Chief Executive Officer of the European Tour led the tributes, saying “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, his children Gary, Carol, Sara, Henry and Simon – who is one of our own team here at the European Tour – as well as his grandchildren Samuel, Esme, Myla, Teddy and great grandchildren Emily and James.”