Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Peter Alliss: On Point or Off His Rocker?

I am sad that I missed this while on my vacation, but wanted to weigh in for a moment. Peter Alliss took this generation's players to task on BBC air at Wentworth.

There was much grumbling in the locker room at Wentworth during the week over comments made by the BBC commentator to the effect that the golf on display was of a poor standard. A neutral could argue such criticism was slightly unfair given the course had been exceptionally difficult until yesterday morning's heavy rainfall produced conditions more conducive to good scoring. Nick Dougherty, on the other hand, was inclined to a harsher assessment.

"I thought it was very sad. In fact, I thought it was disgusting," the Englishman said of Alliss' criticisms. "He was talking about us being bad putters. I don't know whether it's because he has been out of the game for so long but I didn't think it was right and he ought to show us more respect. I wish we could take him out there and show him how difficult it was."

Needless to say Alliss did not take kindly to being upbraided by a young upstart, albeit one with a reputation for being amiable, and his response will have done little to repair relationships or diminish the broadcaster's image as a 19th hole curmudgeon, forever wailing that it was better in the old days.

"I am not here to do anything but say what is going on and they didn't play well," he said. "I know it [the game] is hard. I won 21 tournaments, played in eight Ryder Cups. If it is not all perfect now they all complain.

"There is too much sand in the bunkers, there is not enough sand in the bunkers, the greens. The courses weren't manicured years ago and you had to make the most of it. Bobby Locke won at Oakdale years ago when the greens were like bloody concrete. He won by 10 shots because he knew how to do things. They are so thin-skinned nowadays. It is quite extraordinary. They all say they can take criticism and they don't mind constructive criticism but they do."

Yes, players do complain an awful lot nowadays. Many of them have no eye for design. They don't know how to hit many shots beyond the grip it and rip it style. Still, Alliss probably went a bit too far in his criticism - as Donegan states.

The same thing happens here when Johnny Miller gets stuck on a subject during a NBC telecast. Sean O'Hair got upset when Johnny timed his preshot routine at the Arnold Palmer event at Bay Hill. Might it have been a bit much? Sure. Was it based in truth, though? Certainly.

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