Off the Ball

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Ageless Alliss takes me back to a childhood wonderland

Michael McCarthy

Published 16/07/2014|02:30

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Veteran commentator Peter Alliss will be commentating on wildlife as much as golf at the Open.  Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images
Veteran commentator Peter Alliss will be commentating on wildlife as much as golf at the Open. Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images

Nothing said summer holidays as a kid like the relaxed, easy witticisms of Peter Alliss and his commentary of The Open Championship.

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I would get up on a Thursday morning to the inevitable journeyman British golfer on top of the leaderboard. Surely my memory is playing tricks on me, but I'm convinced Barry Lane led every Open of the 1990s for at least an hour.

Instead of watching the golf, those summer days tended to be spent playing as Langer and Faldo on the local pitch and putt course.

Then you'd get home that evening, and the golf would still be on, and Alliss would still be there – still giving shout-outs to golf clubs in Surrey celebrating centenaries and talking about the Ryder Cups of the 1950s. The golf was seemingly a secondary consideration.

There's not much in modern sport that can immediately bring you back 20 years. The likes of Murray Walker, Ted Lowe and Peter O'Sullevan – the 'Voices' of their sport – have all long since retired, but Alliss remains.

Alliss is 83. Who knows how much longer he'll do this. But tune in tomorrow morning and he'll be there, commentating on wildlife as much as golf.

In a week when we said goodbye to Bill O'Herlihy, we should be thankful for that much. It's just a pity there'll be no Barry Lane on the leaderboard.

Irish Independent

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