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Home Losing O’Leary and Alliss in 2020

Losing O’Leary and Alliss in 2020

Losing O’Leary and Alliss in 2020


As we approach the end of one of the longest years in human history, we want to look back at some of our greatest heroes that died in 2020.


John O’Leary 1949-2020


After storming to victory at the South of Ireland Open Amateur Championship, O’leary became a professional golfer. At the age 22, O’Leary found himself playing at the ’71 Open Championship at Royal Birkdale, going on to play on the European Tour (and other Tours) for over 20 years.

Despite much hard work, it wasn’t until ’75 that O’Leary earned himself his first Tour win, taking home the Holiday Inns Swazi Sun Open on the South Africa Tour. This was just the beginning for O’Leary. That same year, he qualified to play in the Ryder Cup after managing to secure a second-place finish in the Open de France.  

Later, O’leary went on to win Greater Manchester Open of the European Tour. But, his greatest of victories came as he was declared one of only three Irishmen to win his national open, which he achieved in 1982 at Royal Portmarnock. Only he, Harry Bradshaw, and Christy O’Connor Jnr have ever claimed this accolade.

Despite retiring as a golfing professional in 1989, O’Leary continued to contribute to the game he loved. He sat on the Board of Directors for the European Tour until 2019.


Peter Alliss 1931-2020


For so many, Peter Alliss was fundamental to enjoying an afternoon off the course. There may never be a pithier (or insightful) flurry of words broadcasted on golf again. Alliss interested us, helped us understand the game, and made us laugh along the way.

We have seen a swathe of great 20th Century commentators – with their quick wit and perceptive relay of events -  leave us with large shoes to fill. Alliss was one of the last in a long line of greats. Bill McLaren bent our ears at Murryfield. Dan Maskell talked us through Wimbledon. Alliss chortled through St Andrews. The game won’t be the same without him.

Before grasping the microphone, Alliss had followed his father's example and become a professional golfer. Alliss won 31 tournaments in all, playing at the Ryder Cup and The Open Championship. Of the eight appearances he made at the Ryder Cup, Alliss won victories over Arnold Palmer and Billy Casper. Quite a feat.

It is fair to say that when it comes to golf, Peter Alliss knew what he was talking about.

Peter Alliss connected with golfers watching like others didn’t seem able. He had an insight that the average enthusiast didn’t. He would speak at length about the terrain and atmosphere at old clubs on the golfing circuit, providing additional insight into the mechanics of the game. He would tell us stories of his golfing past that would make us laugh, tossing in a few anecdotes where appropriate.

No one could paint a green canvas like Alliss. That is why Peter Alliss will probably remain one of the greatest voices golf has ever seen.