Commentator and former Raider Cup player Peter Alliss – known to fans as “The Voice of Golf” – has died at the age of 89.
The golfing legend, who won more than 20 tournaments during his career as a successful broadcaster, died peacefully at his home in Surrey on Saturday.
European Tour chief executive Keith Peley hailed him as “truly one of golf’s greats”.
He said in a statement: “Peter has made an indelible mark on everything he has done in our game, but especially as a player and a broadcaster, and he leaves a remarkable legacy.”
A statement released on behalf of the Alice family to the BBC: “With great sadness that we announce the passage of golf and broadcast legend, Peter Alice.
“Peter’s death was unexpected but peaceful. Peter was a faithful husband, father and grandfather and his family ask for privacy during this difficult time.”
Born in 1931 in Berlin, where his father Percy worked as a club pro, Alice in his father’s footsteps and left school at the age of 14 to work for him at Ferndown Golf Club in Dorset, before becoming a professional himself two years later. .
After his career was largely put on hold by two years of National Service in the rough from 1949 to 1951, Alliss soon began to make a name for himself and won his first title in 1952.
He played for the United Kingdom and Ireland in his first raider cap in 1953 and thereafter in every match from 1957 to 1969, and represented England 10 times in the Golf’s World Cup.
In 1958, he won the Italian Open, Spanish Open and Portugal Open.
He was also famously chosen to give Sean Connery golf lessons before the actor played James Bond in the 1964 film Goldfinger.
Alliss, who retired as a player in 1975, was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2012.
With his deep and soothing voice, warm humor and passion for the game, Alliss could have been more famous as a commentator than a player.
He debuted in broadcast in 1961 as part of the BBC team for the British Open in Royal Birkdale and became the corporation’s main commentator in 1978, covering major tournaments in the United States, Canada and Australia.
Alliss has also worked for ESPN, ABC Sports, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation among others.
Known for his witty one-liners, when Tiger Woods shot 81 at the British Open in 2002, he said: “It’s like listening to Pavarotti sing and finding out he has laryngitis.”
He was due to celebrate his 60th year in broadcasting in 2021.
In November he commented on the masters of home due to the Coronavirus Pandemic and be filed well.
Alliss has authored numerous books and co-designed more than 50 courses, including The Belfry, which hosted the Ryder Cup in 1985, 1989, 1993 and 2002.
Sad to hear of Peter Alliss’ death
The most sane and comforting voice I have ever heard
I always thought I could cope with the end of the world if only Peter was commenting on it
– John Cleese (@JohnCleese) December 6, 2020
BBC director general Tim Davie said: “Nobody told the story of golf, just like Peter Alliss.
“He captured golf’s drama with insight, wisdom and humanity. He was a legendary commentator who brought the game to millions of us.”
Actor John Cleese wrote on Twitter: “Sad to hear of Peter Alice’s death. The most meaningful and comforting voice I have ever heard.
“I always thought I could cope with the end of the world if only Peter was commenting on it.”
Gary Lineker, who worked with Alice when he put the BBC’s coverage on the screen, tweeted: “Deeply sad to hear that Peter Alice is gone.
“A wonderfully witty and truly brilliant commentator. Golf will never be the same.”