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Peter Alliss: icon of golf left his ‘yips’ behind to become the king of the quips


He will forever be known for his quips and not the “yips” that brutal affliction that cut his playing career short, but led him to another that had an even greater impact on the sport he loved. Golf has surely lost its voice in Peter Alliss, but the sport has also lost a unique character who understood the game’s maddening streak better than any other and certainly found the means to express it better than any other. In his last few years, Alliss would often joke that it was his boyhood dream to break 90 but, after a short illness, he fell short of his target by a couple of months when he passed away at his Surrey home on Saturday evening. But the weight of tribute showed that here was a national treasure of unrestrained success. From Europe’s greatest golfer, Sir Nick Faldo, via the BBC’s director general, Tim Davie, to a Python legend, John Cleese, they lined up to extol his legacy. “One of the greatest careers in sports commentary,” hailed the home page of the BBC website, although that seemed to sum up only a portion of this fascinating individual. A quintessential Englishman who was born in Berlin – a baby who weighed 4lb 11oz but grew up to bear the lightest of touches. He was a hothead on the fairways who poked fun at the self-obsessed golfer … a creature blessed with whimsy, yet so much gravitas … the traditionalist who broke so much ground. Alliss was all of these things and so many more. First, he was a golfer and, despite him transcending the “hobby”, he never sought to leave either its idiosyncrasies or its embrace. An eight-time Ryder Cup player, Thomas Bjorn, Europe’s most recent captain, described Alliss as “a brilliant broadcaster but an even better player”.

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Why Peter Alliss was so much more than just another talking head

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