Belfast Telegraph

Monday 1 September 2014

Billy on the Box: Sad farewell as BMW drives away from BBC

Peter Alliss is 81 and still the best commentator on the BBC by a country mile.

Sadly, given the organisation’s downsizing and his advancing years, this match made in heaven is nearing it’s end, and when they both finally call it a day it will be a very depressing one for golf.

The weekend saw both in full swing at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth but it is now driving off to the bottomless money pit that is Sky meaning that the Beeb is now left with the Open and precious little else.

“This is maybe your last opportunity to talk to us at Wentworth for after 50-odd years we’re disappearing into the country club in the sky, but we’ll miss you,” Alliss told us. The feeling is very much mutual.

So let’s make the most of it while we can, Alliss, fresh from his induction into the golfing Hall of Fame, was in great form while Rory McIlroy wasn’t. Day one witnessed the Holywood starlet throw a tantrum and hurl a club across the fairway.

“He’s learning all the tricks of the trade, that’s nice to see,” jabbed Alliss, before going for the jugular with ‘the halo slipped there for a moment.’ Ouch. Still it could only get worse for Rory.

It opened the door for Luke Donald to win the event and recapture the coveted (apparently) world No.1 spot but I’d still keep that open for Alliss, whose critique of Marcel Siem’s blue trousers was brilliant and gloriously politically incorrect.

“I’m not too sure about the trousers. They’re earning thousands and millions and somehow they look as they’ve been dressed by Oxfam,” he said.

But the best was yet to come, a great exchange with Maureen Madill on players having to give 10 per cent of their winnings to their caddy.

“Imagine winning a million quid and you have to give a cheque for 100,000 to your porter. Dear old sherpas going up Everest don’t get that,” said Alliss.

“They like to think they’re more than porters, they’re compadres in arms,” defended Madill.

“Ah, they can’t touch you for it nowadays,” came the response. Genius.

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