Sport on TV: Left behind the times, but we'll always have Allis

Imagine only ever getting to see the last 15 minutes of football matches. Or sitting down to watch Hamlet with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern already pushing up daisies, Polonius behind the arras with his fatal sword wound and Ophelia having taken her early bath. That's what watching the Masters is like.

The first day's coverage (BBC2 and BBC1, Thursday) began at 9pm, by which time Justin Rose's six birdies in eight holes and Ian Poulter's hole-in-one were both very old news. It underlined – as every year – how much we're at the whim of the Augusta National politburo and their insistence on keeping those infernal televisual recording devices as far away from the action as is humanly possible.

In one sense, the curmudgeonly unreconstructed socialist that still lurks inside me, like the Japanese soldier hiding in the jungle 50 years after VJ day, is with them all the way: whenever there's a chance to have a pop at the forces of commercialism, I'm there breaking up the paving stones.

But it's all of a piece with the "sacred" Olympic flame – another example of the idiots who run sport fondly imagining themselves to be statesmen and visionaries rather than jobsworths in blazers. On Thursday, Ken Brown spoke warmly of the fact that kids are being admitted free this year.

"They're always trying to move things on," he gushed – just as they were in the vanguard of the struggle for civil rights, admitting their first black member way back in 1990 (note to dimmer readers: that was sarcasm).

Still, we'll always have Allis (Peter, that is). Thursday's opening shot, two turtles basking gloriously in one of the water hazards, was perfect. That's how you feel as you sink deeper into the sofa, cossetted by the lush visuals and Allis's homely, folksy, comfy, chintzy, cheery commentary. When Sandy Lyle went three under he even reprised his refrain from decades ago at the Volvo PGA in Wentworth aeons ago – "Sandy, Sandy, he's our man, if he can't do it, no one can."

And when someone's ball spun round the lip a bit before going down, "it higgled and piggled on its way in" was his verdict. Contrast that, though, with his judgement on Lyle's closing holes, when he fell back to par: "a sad, scruffy little ending". And at the end there was even a bit of irreverence, with Gary Player last on the leaderboard: "And there's the old queen mother propping up the list..." It's like shinto, golf, with its veneration of elders, so it was nice to see the eminence grise of the small screen having a bit of fun with it.

The last word goes to Gary Lineker, however, after Poulter's hole-in-one. The Sartorially Challenged One recently spoke of himself and Tiger Woods in the same breath. "Any more of that," Lineker remarked after he'd sunk his ace, "and they'll be saying he's the second best player in the world..."

News
peopleHowards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, was 60
Sport
Romelu Lukaku puts pen to paper
sport
News
Robyn Lawley
people
Arts and Entertainment
Unhappy days: Resistance spy turned Nobel prize winner Samuel Beckett
books
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
Life and Style
Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson voice the show’s heroes
gamingOnce stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover
News
i100
Life and Style
Phones will be able to monitor your health, from blood pressure to heart rate, and even book a doctor’s appointment for you
techCould our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?
News
people
Extras
indybest
Travel
Ryan taming: the Celtic Tiger carrier has been trying to improve its image
travelRyanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?
Sport
Usain Bolt confirms he will run in both the heats and the finals of the men's relay at the Commonwealth Games
commonwealth games
Life and Style
Slim pickings: Spanx premium denim collection
fashionBillionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers 'thigh-trimming construction'
News
Sabina Altynbekova has said she wants to be famous for playing volleyball, not her looks
people
News
i100
Life and Style
tech'World's first man-made leaves' could use photosynthesis to help astronauts breathe
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star