By Jove! Peter Alliss and Sandy Lyle Round Out Class of 2012
By Conor Nagle under General

Peter Alliss: "It's a funny old game..."

The World Golf Hall of Fame has announced the inclusion of two-time major champion Sandy Lyle and legenday golf commentator Peter Alliss among its 2012 inductees.

Contrary perhaps to expectations, it’s the selection of Alliss that is likely to generate the biggest stir on this side of the Atlantic.

Lyle’s claim to a place in history is beyond reproach, of course, but for those of us raised on the BBC’s coverage of both the Masters and the Open Championship, our televisual experience of the game– of the big, historic moments– always came refracted through the soothing, pseudo-aristocratic tones of the gent in the commentary booth.

If his major network counterparts can be likened to writers of taut, formulaic thrillers, Alliss was (and largely remains; even at the age of 80) a high modernist with a taste for stream-of-consciousness set-pieces.

Ironic, self-aware (or is he?), hilariously fallible and never one to pass up a good double entendre: he makes the case for sports commentary as performance art.

Judged in that light, he’s never better than when left alone to catalogue the largely inconsequential dramas of a Thursday or Friday evening.

(I also recommend the Tweeter Alliss feed on Twitter; it’s nearly as amusing as the real thing. Remarkable.)

Conor Nagle