Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

Bubba, bamboo and a big bit of Alliss

It was the golfing battle we were all awaiting as the former great locked horns with the brash upstart and all played out on the majestic backdrop of Augusta.

Yes, it was the BBC against Sky at the Masters, well for the last two days of it, as the channels went head-to-head and it was very considerate of Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy to make sure they didn’t get in the way and create a sideshow by keeping a low profile.

“The BBC team has been champing at the bit to bring you live and uninterrupted coverage,” of the event said Hazel Irvine as the Beeb bounded onto the fairways on Saturday evening.

The key word there is ‘uninterrupted’ and in theory she was correct. Indeed there were no ads but as they use the same pictures as Sky every time there was a break it meant dusting off Ken Brown and chucking him onto the course to tell us that a green was a bit slopey.

With Sky — the home of live Masters golf (like they’ll let you forget) — you know what you’re going to get. Presenter David Livingstone (I presume) is your guide, joined by the menacing teeth of Colin Montgomerie and Butch Harmon, stroking a white cat on his knee and laughing manically.

Bruce Critchley and Ewan Murray provide the words and do it well, and occasionally Mark Roe popped up with a giant Skypad as is now the law for all Sky events. But what they don’t have and sadly what all of us have less and less with the two rounds at Augusta accounting for a large percentage of the Beeb’s yearly golfing output now, is Peter Alliss, at his best when joined by Brown and Wayne Grady.

Like latent racism and inherent sexism he is part of the fabric at the Masters, although in a rather more positive way, but the times they are a changin’ down Georgia way.

Even President Obama (22 years after he would have been ushered in) wants ladies to be allowed to become members and with players even hugging on the greens now, it was perhaps fitting that a good ol’ boy dressed all in white from the south won the day.

Bubba Watson (pictured), a man described by Alliss as ‘looking like a painter and decorator’ won the day by beating Louis Oosthuizen in the play-off.

Other sartorial comments included a critique of Paul Lawrie’s pants — ‘one of the few professionals who wear trousers that fit — a beautiful cut’ and the classic ‘it’s moments like this you wish you didn’t have white pants on.’

We had a Westwood dressed to impress, Lee not Vivienne, although she would probably be better on the greens, while Phil Mickelson found that camouflage was in season when his hopes were dealt a blow that pandas across the globe fear — getting their round objects caught in bamboozling bamboo.

But all that aside, Bubba was the winner, as Alliss concluded ‘a good winner and slightly eccentric’.

It takes one to know one, Peter.

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