Renowned golf broadcaster looks back on the tournament of old
Legendary golf broadcaster Peter Alliss has shared fond memories of Ryder Cup partnership with late Irish golfer Christy O’Connor Senior.
With the 2016 Ryder Cup on the horizon from October 30th to October 2nd at Hazeltine, eight-time Ryder Cup representative Alliss joined Off The Ball to look back on his own experiences with the Great Britain and Ireland team (now Team Europe)and this year’s tournament.
But it was his time playing alongside O’Connor in the 1950s and ‘60s that elicited particularly fond memories for Alliss.
"It’s a very different world now but it was very, very exciting. We were always the underdogs. My feelings for much of the Ryder Cups changed when I met and teamed up with Christy O’Connor," he said.
"I’d had other partners but Christy and I for some reason just hit it off. We were never social friends. I never visited his house, he never came to my house and yet we had a wonderful affinity to get on and play well. I liked him and he liked me. We didn’t apologise to each other and both knew and felt that the other was doing the very best they could. They weren’t fooling around. We were both rather dubious putters. We were not renowned for being great putters from three or four feet so we were very cautious. But the great thing about Christy and I was that we were both bloody good players. I loved him dearly."
As he explained, Great Britain and Ireland were led to believe that the USA team were superior to their own team in those days.
But he says Ryder Cup “animosity” between the two teams started to grow in the 1980s once Europe began to beat the USA.
"The middle [of the ‘80s] to the early ‘90s, that’s when the animosity [started], when we started to win," he said, although he feels the press can sometimes build that up.
And he added that he "doesn’t like this false patriotism” and feels there is “no disgrace to show courtesy to an opponent".