Legendary BBC golf broadcaster Peter Alliss dies at 89

Peter Alliss smiles at his World Golf Hall of Fame induction ceremony in 2012.

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Peter Alliss, the voice of golf for a generation of European golf fans, died Sunday at 89.

The BBC Sports lead golf broadcaster’s death was unexpected but peaceful, according to a statement released by his family, and came as he neared the completion of his 42nd season behind the microphone.

Alliss, whose dry humor and didactic style earned him a near-cult following among golf fans, was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame for lifetime achievement in 2012.

He began his time as lead golf commentator for the BBC upon the completion of his playing career in 1978. As a player, Alliss found stunning success in international play, winning 31 times professionally across the globe.

Alliss also followed in his father’s footsteps by representing the European Ryder Cup team some eight times. After his victory in 1957, Peter and his father Percy became the first father-son tandem to each compete in and win a Ryder Cup.

But it was in his broadcast career that Alliss saw his most stunning success. He began as a commentator at the Open Championship in 1961, serving as a player-analyst for the week. Almost two decades later, Alliss assumed the lead role for the BBC in the shadow of another golf legend (Henry Longhurst) and never looked back.

Alliss first endeared himself to television audiences across the pond in 1975, when ABC welcomed him as part of the network’s Open Championship coverage. He would continue in a guest analyst role for ABC and its sister network ESPN for more than four decades at the Open.

More than any one role, Alliss held a place on the mantle for a generation of golf fans. His unvarnished wit engendered the same passion for the sport he so evidently shared.

In the end, his call of the November Masters proved his last major championship telecast. He is survived by his wife Jackie and five children.

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James Colgan

Golf.com Editor

James Colgan is an assistant editor at GOLF, contributing stories for the website and magazine. He writes the Hot Mic, GOLF’s weekly media column, and utilizes his broadcast experience across the brand’s social media and video platforms. A 2019 graduate of Syracuse University, James β€” and evidently, his golf game β€” is still defrosting from four years in the snow. Prior to joining GOLF, James was a caddie scholarship recipient (and astute looper) on Long Island, where he is from. He can be reached at james.colgan@golf.com.