From The Inbox

English reader affirms Peter Alliss’ qualities

With his self-deprecating manner and his talent as a golfer and an announcer, Alliss led a charmed life, and he knew

Readers have mentioned Peter Alliss' self-deprecating attitude (“From the Morning Read inbox,” Dec. 8). I think he knew how good he had been as a golfer and still was as a commentator, but he always was able to see the lighter and more ridiculous side of life, including his own (“Peter Alliss, known as ‘Voice of Golf,’ dies at age 89,” Dec. 7).

When I met him four years ago at a charity event, I told him how amused I had been a few years earlier to see him drive his Rolls-Royce into the car park at Hindhead Golf Club and to notice the personal number plate he had transferred to the car.

“Oh, yes,” he said, chuckling. “It seemed very apt to have 3 PUT.

I had seen him in 1969 playing in the Ryder Cup at Royal Birkdale. In those days, there were two sets of eight singles on the final Saturday. Alliss lost to Lee Trevino in the morning and was not selected to play in the afternoon, so he went straight to the BBC studio and commented on the marvelous finish. We agreed how sporting it was for Jack Nicklaus to concede Tony Jacklin's final putt and ensure that the teams tied, though it was only a 2-footer, because Nicklaus had lost their morning match, 4 and 3. Who else would do that?

Peter Alliss: One of a kind.

Terry Wall
Winchester, England

Handicaps serve a necessary purpose
I'm guessing that reader Jon Lucas is a low-handicap golfer and would be happy if we hackers with double-digit handicaps would quit clogging up his fairways (“From the Morning Read inbox,” Dec. 8). Actually, most of the time we are clogging up the rough and the woods, but that's another issue.

I agree with a portion of what he wrote. Yes, there is always a problem with sandbagging, and no one would go around bragging about beating Dustin Johnson or any scratch golfer after receiving many strokes, but there are so many situations in which handicaps are helpful, if not necessary.

If you join a threesome that you are not acquainted with, how could you engage in a competition with them if no one had a handicap? Would all tournaments of any kind have only a championship flight? In your Saturday foursome, if no one had a handicap, and you were not all four of the same general ability, the same one or two guys would win every outing. That wouldn't be much fun for the players with less ability. It also would be costly.

In order for people of different abilities to compete with one another, there has to be an adjustment factor, and as imperfect as they may be, our handicaps are that factor.

John Abercrombie
Cape Girardeau, Mo.

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