The world of golf has been stunned and saddened this last week with the news that the “ voice of golf “ Mr Peter Alliss has passed. Rightly lauded for his magnificent contribution to the game over many decades the tributes have been pouring in from far and wide.
A very talented and successful player in his own right, the majority of us in the UK probably know him better as a superb commentator leading the BBC coverage of the great golf tournaments over the last 40 years including The Open and The Masters. His mastery of the spoken word, passion for the game of golf, beautifully crafted sense of humour and decidedly un-PC approach to his broadcasting and life in general made Peter a firm favourite with all who worked with him, met him or simply just appreciated his commentating style around the world.
I would like to see the golf community recognise his contribution in a way Peter would surely support.Please bear with me .
Golfers the world over are really no different from any other keen sporting participant. We all like to imagine ourselves taking on the best players in the world or perhaps recreating some pressurised moment as in “ this one for the Open/Masters/Ryder Cup “ with our usual fourball at our local golf club.
Golf of course benefits from the special attraction that, on payment of your green fee or at the invitation of a member, you can indeed take on the challenge of the world’s finest courses which have hosted the greatest championships. The next stage up would be to secure a place in one of the numerous pro-am days which have become such a feature around the various professional tours.
Now if you cannot actually play yourself then the next best option is to watch the great and the good of enthusiastic celebrity golfer being exposed to a match up with the best in the sport. Coverage of the recent “The Match “ series from USA featuring Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and a number of high profile veteran sports stars from the NFL and NBA has prompted many in the UK to reminisce fondly about the classic BBC long running series International Pro–Celebrity Golf; a mainstay of the , admittedly rather sparse, UK television schedules for 14 years , finally ending back in 1988 after 140 programmes. Filmed at venues such as Gleneagles and Turnberry and featuring an array of the sport’s legends including Lee Trevino, Johnny Miller, Tom Weiskopf and Tony Jacklin, the celebrity line up ranged across sports, film, tv, pop stars , comedians and even the revered Battle of Britain pilot Douglas Bader.
Given our taxpayer funded corporation’s rapidly declining interest in broadcasting any golf over the last ten years, it is probably a pointless exercise to even suggest the BBC would consider creating a modern version of the series but it would unquestionably have great appeal.
As we approach the festive season of “ goodwill to all men “ and in the unlikely event that some newly appointed producer with a bucket of spare cash and a lifelong passion for the finest sport ever devised happens to read this, here is my masterplan. Please feel free to offer any constructive changes.
Overall programme created by a combination of BBC Sport , BBC Scotland, R&A, Scottish Golf, VisitScotland etc
A superb advert for Scottish Tourism, our great golf courses and the game of golf itself.
Showcase a limited number of special venues; current list ( subject to change ) The Machrie , Castle Stuart, Cruden Bay, Gleneagles, Archerfield
Each programme to include elements of course history and design plus involvement of course managers & greenkeepers.
Presenter: Eilidh Barbour
Commentator: Andrew Cotter
On Course: Iona Stephen, Ken Brown, Laura Davies
Team Captains: Colin Montgomerie, Catriona Matthew, Paul Lawrie, Sandy Lyle
Guest Player List ( work in progress )
Ex President Obama, Condoleeza Rice, Samuel L Jackson, Justin Timberlake,Bill Murray, Jennifer Lopez, Ryan Reynolds
Mike Tindall, Gavin Hastings, Brian O’ Driscoll, Sean Fitzpatrick, Bobby Skinstad, Gary Lineker, Alan Hansen, Alan Shearer
Sir Tom Hunter, Naga Munchetty
Each programme would include sections on game improvement , guide to the rules, new equipment and on course etiquette. These sections could be presented by the Professional teams at each venue.
A series of golf challenge matches with a mix of top pro players, some highly promising new talent and interesting passionate celebrity amateurs; showcasing the best of Scotland’s stunning scenery and outstanding golf courses. Entertaining and educational and a superb advert for the Scottish Golf Tourism Industry.
Admittedly it will not be the same without Mr Alliss but what a fine tribute it would be to his memory.
A crazy idea that won’t see the light of day. Probably,but this has been a crazy year and we all desperately need some positive changes. How about it BBC Scotland ?