Peter Alliss steals the Show, at Hall of Fame Induction

Peter Alliss at the 2012 World Golf Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

Peter Alliss at the Hall of Fame Induction, Getty Images

Peter Alliss stole the show at the Hall of Fame Induction ceremony in St Augustine Florida on Monday. True to form he recounted many a story to delight the audience, and Peter has many stories to tell, garnered during his 50 years as a TV pundit and commentator. A Hall of Fame official said;

 “We should induct Peter Alliss and Dan Jenkins every year.” Or, at the least, make them part of the annual show to guarantee spewing of wit and wisdom.

Here are some of the gems Peter delivered on the night;

 “Today’s keyhole journalism, I think, is one of the sad things not only about sport but about life, that somebody can be a promising young person, boy, girl, whatever; and the editor in today’s society wants to find out if they ever did anything naughty when they were young. Did they ever steal something from Woolworth’s, a packet of sweetie’s, or did they ever have a boy-boy relationship when they were at college or girl-girl relationship, and have you got any photos?”

Then he recounted his school report from his headmistress,  Violet Weymouth, a short Welsh woman who routinely had a cigarette dangling from her lips and had a way of striking fear. Weymouth sent the report to Peter’s parents dismissing the young Alliss, saying he was loath to use his brain and seemed interested in only golf and a particular girl who, in his words, helped teach him the “ways of the world.” The report concluded with,

“I fear for his future.”

Peter smiled, then concluded his speech;

“So mom and dad died a long, long time ago, and if there is such a thing as heaven and if people do look down, well, mom, dad, here we are. Look at this lot. Look where I’ve been, look what I’ve done. Never worked very hard at it. But it’s all fallen into place. Lovely family, lovely wife, looks after me, shouts a bit occasionally. But they are remarkable. They put up with all my nonsense, and I love them dearly.

“And Mrs. Weymouth, if you’re there …”

And with that, he held up a middle finger for what seemed like several seconds and then walked off to loud applause.

Peter is also blown away by the decline of  Tiger Woods and by the fact Woods often seems lost in instructional mechanics saying;

“His golfing brain, for some reason or other is completely addled.  He was Gulliver in a land of Lilliputians. He dominated everyone. He frightened everybody. Then he gets into this trouble with the ladies and seemingly he loses it, and then he has to start again.”

“I’m not saying I’m a great teaching guru but,  if he couldn’t be put right in an hour, I’d go home and stick my head in a bucket of ice water, because to me it’s so simple. You stand and you swing. His golfing brain, for some reason or other is completely addled.”

He remembers being taken aback when he and Arnold Palmer watched Tiger practice on the range at last year’s Masters. Tiger Woods, arguably the most dominant golfer off all time, was getting a chipping lesson. He turned to Arnold and said

“Arnold, are we seeing things? Are we going mad?  It’s like Pavarotti saying I’m fed up being a tenor. I think I’m going to sing as a baritone. That’s not a criticism; it’s an opinion. But that’s why Tiger is fuddled and befuddled.”

He later spoke of his affection and friendship with Seve Ballesteros;

“He was a dear friend of mine, but he was the tightest duck-assed fellow I ever knew in my life. He had millions. He had two cars in his garage. He had a Lamborghini and a Ferrari, and I think they both had about 3,000 miles on the clock. And a Range Rover. He said, ‘They use too much petrol. I can’t afford that petrol. And he was the 840th richest person in the world, or whatever it was at that time.”

Peter Alliss in the World Golf Hall of Fame

Peter Alliss is inducted into the golf Hall of Fame

Peter Alliss, the 81 year old BBC commentator, he of the syrupy, silky voice, is to be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame. Peter will join Phil Mickelson, Sandy Lyle, Dan Jenkins and Hollis Stacey at St. Augustine, Florida for the ceremony on Monday.

Apart from his great knowledge of golf, and all things golf, Peter would also dispense some good old-fashioned wisdom of life. I remember one of those sayings, he related this in the middle of a Major, ” Don’t forget what your mother told you, always dry between your toes after a shower.”  This is medical advice, this course of action prevents the affliction known as athlete’s foot. Why Peter would slip this little piece of wisdom into his golf commentary is debatable, but all the same, useful. Peter’s golf commentary was never boring, and unlike many of his TV pundit pals he does not resort to mundane and often repeated phrases. Things like, “this is one of the best courses on tour’ or he is one of the finest ball strikers on tour. The one that annoy’s me most is the line, ‘to play this course well you need to hit all the fairways, and the greens in regulation. Everybody everywhere who plays golf knows that you need to do that, even on your Municipal course. Peter brings a nice balance to his commentary. He also can enjoy a  joke, the registration plate on his car “3 Putt” can attest to that. Long may he continue. Peter said of his award;

“It’s all come as a bit of a surprise for me.” I know people think I am a bit loud-mouthed and arrogant but I don’t take praise very well, I feel embarrassed by it all.”

The World Golf Hall of Fame is home to some  the game’s best players and contributors. People  recognized within the Hall of Fame represent individuals who have positively impacted the game of golf on the grandest scale. Both professional and amateur golfers, architects, journalists, innovators and teachers are among those who have been celebrated.

Peter has completed 50 years of broadcasting the Open Championship for the BBC, and also done other things, apart from his golfing career. As a professional player he won 23 tournaments worldwide, including three British PGA Championships, two Spanish Opens, one Italian Open, one Portuguese Open and one Brazilian Open. He also made eight appearances in the Ryder Cup, the first of which came in 1953 and saw the Alliss family become the first ever to have father and son play in the event.

“I have had five or six career’s really. I was a club professional, a tournament professional, an international player, a golf course designer and constructor, a writer of books and, of course, I have worked in television with the BBC, ABC in America and Australia, CBC in Canada and all round the world. I have done a range of TV shows; A Round with Alliss, Pro-Celebrity Golf and Golfer’s Travels and it’s been amazing really. I haven’t set out to do any of those things, it just happened. Every episode of my life has been very rewarding.”

Peter Alliss will now stand alongside the likes of American legends Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer and fellow Britons Nick Faldo and Tony Jacklin in the Hall of Fame.