Following the tragic news of last Sunday of the loss of golf icon Peter Alliss, several among former and current players, golf's governing bodies, celebrities, journalists, media professionals, supporters and fans have commiserated with the family of the 89-year-old elder sportsman, who passed away “unexpectedly but peacefully” over the weekend.
Among the condolers is Keith Pelley, European Tour chief executive, who shared some nice words for Alliss, “We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Peter Aliss, truly one of golf's greats." Few voices were as recognizable on British television as that of the man described as golf’s most mellifluous voice through his 42-year commentary career for the BBC; this is a huge loss to the world of golf.
Born in 1931 to a successful player father who competed on four Ryder Cup teams for Great Britain and Ireland, Alliss was destined for a career and a future in the world of golf. Going pro at just 16, he won the first of his 31 professional victories in 1952 and made his Ryder Cup debut the following year.
He then went on to finish eighth in The Open Championship four times and play eight times in the Ryder Cup, although never playing in the US Open. His form dipped after his final win in 1969, and in 1978―after his retirement as a professional golfer and the death of his friend and colleague, Henry Longhurst―Alliss was appointed lead commentator for the BBC.
A self-confessed “old player, lover of the game and a good weaver of stories," the late Alliss broadcast several of the most prestigious golf events on the tour, including The Open, the Masters and the Ryder Cup, and events in the United States and Australia over a successful commentating career spanning over 4 decades.
So whimsical and creative was he, managing to hold spectators in thrall with notes consisting of magazine cuttings scrawled with “dog” and “chicken,” eschewing the ring-binders full of forensic notes that marked his colleagues’ practice.
The 2012 World Golf Hall of Fame inductee who passed on last Saturday, December 5th, will be always remembered as a consummate storyteller and a true icon in his defiance of convention; he will be sorely missed. He is survived by his wife and children.