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Sunday 23 October 2016

BBC apologise after Peter Alliss sparks sexism row at British Open

Published 21/07/2015 | 11:37

Peter Alliss and (right) Zach Johnson and his wife Kim after Open win
Peter Alliss and (right) Zach Johnson and his wife Kim after Open win

The BBC has apologised after veteran golf commentator Peter Alliss provoked another sexism storm with his second on-air gaffe within 24 hours at the Open at St Andrews.

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Alliss, 84, had already sent social media alight on Sunday night with his comment about young Irish amateur Paul Dunne being hugged by his mother as he came off the course with a share of the third-round lead.

"Ah, that must be mum," said Alliss. "Perhaps he likes older women. I don't know but I hope I got the right one."

But the storm he had provoked had hardly had time to die down when he was at it again on Monday evening. This time his remarks were directed towards Kim Barclay, the wife of Zach Johnson, moments before the American sized up a putt to win a three-way play-off to land the Open title.

As the camera focused on her, Alliss mused about how the couple would spend the prize money: "She is probably thinking - 'if this goes in I get a new kitchen'," commented Alliss.

Read more: BBC's Peter Alliss in fresh storm with 'sexist' remark about Open winner Zach Johnson's wife

Read more: Andy Lee threatens to knock-out fan who shouted 'potato' as Paul Dunne hit approach shot to 18th hole

A BBC spokesperson said today: “Peter made a light hearted comment which was inappropriate and we apologise if anyone was offended.”

Alliss, who is known as the BBC's voice of golf, has for decades divided opinion, with some treasuring his pithy observations and deep knowledge of the game but others enraged by what they see as outdated and reactionary views.

He caused outrage in April when he said in a Radio Times interview that thousands of women have given up playing golf as a result of Harriet Harman’s Equality Act, which ended men-only tee times and restrictions on the club facilities which female players could use.

Alliss said the legislation granting women equality on the golf course had “buggered up” the game because female players cannot afford the fees.

The BBC was also under fire on Monday for delaying its coverage of the final round of the Open until 1.45pm, six hours after play had started.

The corporation was forced to issue a statement explaining its ­decision to stick to the morning and lunchtime schedule – which included Homes Under The Hammer, Heir Hunters and Bargain Hunt – and not cross to the Old Course.

Insiders claimed that the BBC had no option as approximately 50  per cent of the freelance camera operators had been booked for other jobs.

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