John Cleese, Gary Lineker and Dan Walker lead tributes to Peter Alliss

Actor John Cleese and TV presenters Gary Lineker and Dan Walker joined the golfing world in paying tribute to the BBC’s ‘Voice of Golf’ Peter Alliss, who passed away on Saturday night.

BBC Golf commentator Peter Alliss, pictured during his playing career in 1968, has died at the age of 89. Picture: Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
BBC Golf commentator Peter Alliss, pictured during his playing career in 1968, has died at the age of 89. Picture: Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The 89-year-old, who recorded 31 professional victories and played in eight Ryder Cups before turning his hand to broadcasting, died “unexpected but peacefully” at his home in Surrey.

The sad news sparked a flood of tributes from all around the world, with Alliss having also worked for ESPN and ABC Sports in the United States for a long period of time alongside his main BBC role.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

“The most sane and comforting voice I ever heard,” said Cleese, who co-founded Monty Python before starring in the BBC sitcom Fawlty Towers. “I always thought that I could cope with the ending of the world, if only Peter was commentating on it.”

Match of the Day presenter Linker and Walker, who is on BBC Breakfast and also hosts Football Focus, both worked alongside Alliss for the BBC.

“A wonderfully witty and truly brilliant commentator. Golf will never be the same,” said Lineker while Walker said it had “been a pleasure to work with him”.

He added of Alliss: The first time I met him was my first day on the BBC golf team. He shook my hand and said “Now then young man... come with me and I’ll give you some cheese and biscuits that will change your life.”

Alliss also worked with a number of Scots, including Alex Hay, Hazel Irvine, Dougie Donnelly, Ken Brown, Andrew Cotter and the BBC’s current golf presenter, Eilidh Barbour.

“Peter Alliss will forever be the voice of golf but he was also an incredibly warm, generous and kind man with a wicked sense of humour,” said Barbour.

“An honour to share a studio with but even more special to share stories with. I will miss him hugely.”

That sentiment was echoed by Judy Rankin, a former LPGA Tour player and Golf Hall of Fame member who is now a familiar and respected voice on ESPN and ABC in the US.

“So broken-hearted to lose one of my great friends in the world,” she said. “I learned, laughed, and loved him.”

Jimmy Roberts, one of the best-known voices in golf on the other side of the Atlantic, said Alliss was “kind, colorful and larger than life”, adding: “We used to call him ‘the great man’. And he was.”

Thomas Bjorn, Europe’s Ryder Cup-winning captain in Paris in 2018, also described Alliss as a “great man and a true friend of our game”.

Keith Pelley, the European Tour’s chief executive added: “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.”A warm tribute was also paid by the R&A, describing Alliss as a “wonderful servant to golf over many years”.

Nick Dougherty came across Alliss as both a player and a fellow broadcaster. “For me and so many others, he was the voice of our childhoods and introduction to this great game,” said the Sky Sports Golf presenter.

“He more than left his mark on the course and in the commentary box. Peter was a one off. God bless old boy.”

A message from the Editor:Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.

 0 comments

Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.