Golf commentator Peter Alliss - known as 'the voice of golf' - dies aged 89

Peter Alliss, who became the “voice of golf” after a successful playing career, has died at the age of 89, the European Tour has announced.
Peter Alliss has died aged 89Peter Alliss has died aged 89
Peter Alliss has died aged 89

Alliss, who won more than 20 tournaments during his career and played on eight Ryder Cup teams, died on Saturday evening at his home in Surrey.

European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley said: “We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Peter Alliss, truly one of golf’s greats.

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“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. Our thoughts are with his wife Jackie and the Alliss family.”

A statement released by the BBC on behalf of the Alliss family read: “It’s with great sadness that we announce the passing of golfing and broadcast legend, Peter Alliss.

“Peter’s death was unexpected but peaceful. Peter was a devoted husband, father and grandfather and his family ask for privacy at this difficult time.”

He was also the head pro at Moor Allerton Golf Club in Leeds for three years in the 1970s. The club posted a tribute to him on Twitter.

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It said: "Such sad news hearing Peter Alliss has passed away. Peter was our head pro 1970-73 and a close friendship with the legendary presenter remained ever since. We will miss him dearly. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family today.

Born on February 28, 1931, in Berlin, where his father Percy worked as a club pro, Alliss followed in his father’s footsteps and quit school at the age of 14 to work for him at Ferndown Golf Club in Dorset, before turning professional himself two years later.

His father was one of the best British golfers of the 1920s and 1930s and made four Ryder Cup teams, although he was left out by captain George Duncan for the home side’s victory at Moortown, in Leeds, in 1929.

After his own career was largely put on hold by two years of National Service in the RAF from 1949 to 1951, Alliss soon began to make a name for himself and finished ninth in the 1953 Open, one of five top-10 finishes in the event.

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He also played in the Ryder Cup team eight times, although failed to score a point in the only victory he was a part of, at South Yorkshire's Lindrick in 1957.

His move into broadcasting came about after he was overheard by the BBC’s Ray Lakeland talking to a friend on a flight back from a tournament in Ireland in 1960.

Alliss combined commentary stints at the following year’s Open Championship at Royal Birkdale with finishing eighth behind Arnold Palmer, helping to raise his profile to such an extent that he was chosen to give Sean Connery golf lessons before the actor played James Bond in the 1964 film ‘Goldfinger’.