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A famous television golf commentator was caught by a hot mic at the Masters Tournament talking about the “short” miniskirt worn by the fiancée of the winner.
As the crowd cheered for golfer Sergio Garcia’s first major win at the Masters Tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia Sunday night, the BBC’s Peter Alliss, a former professional golfer turned commentator, was a bit distracted. In a barely audible video, Alliss can be heard saying that Garcia’s fiancée, Angela Akins, was wearing “the shortest skirt in the country.”
A BBC spokesperson tells Yahoo Beauty, “While believing he was off air, Peter made a lighthearted remark which he now knows was inappropriate.”
Golf fans were quick to react on Twitter.
— Enduro_Stu (@Enduro_Stu) April 9, 2017
When are the BBC going to get rid of Peter Allis? He is an embarrassment
— dominic Leslie (@dle100) April 8, 2017
Dear @BBCSport please, please retire Peter Allis. I know it's a tough conversation with an old man but it really is time
— Will Orr (@WillJOrr) April 9, 2017
What’s more, in another video of the couple hugging, fans claimed that Alliss said, “There will be some fun in the hotel tonight!”
— Nick Daniel (@nickydan1) April 9, 2017
However, the BBC spokesperson clarifies, “Peter said, ‘There will be some fun in the old town tonight.'”
The 86-year-old former golf pro who won 31 tournaments in his 28-year career has always been controversial.
In 2016, when members of the Scotland-based all-male golf club Muirfield were voting on whether women should be allowed to join as members (the club initially voted no, then reversed its decision in March), Alliss remarked to BBC 5 Live, “If somebody wants to join, you better get married to someone who’s a member.”
And in 2015, the BBC issued an apology after Alliss made remarks about golfer Zach Johnson’s wife, Kim Barclay. As the camera zoomed in on Johnson readying himself for a swing during the British Open, Alliss said of Barclay, “She’s probably thinking, ‘If this goes in I get a new kitchen.’”
Alliss has also come under fire for what his critics call racist remarks — in 2002, he called Japanese golfer Shigeki Maruyama “the wily Oriental.”
In an interview published Wednesday in Newsweek, Alliss was asked what he meant by 2015 comments that women’s rights in golf have “caused mayhem,” and he said, “If we want to be equal, are you going to get a woman fighting for the heavyweight championship of the world [in] boxing? Are you? Could you? If you want perfect equality. I don’t like to see women punching each other in the chest. I don’t like it. I think it will cause irreparable damage. They talk about footballers heading balls, but punching each other in the breasts for six minutes doesn’t seem a sensible thing to do. There’s certain things that women do that we can’t do, as far as I’m concerned.”
Alliss further defended his rep by telling Newsweek, “Those are my views. I think women are more delicate than men. I like holding chairs for women. I enjoy the company of women. I don’t want to be bullied by them. I don’t care for macho women, I don’t care for them very much. And yet they’re prevalent today, and very prevalent in some cases. And very forward.”
Sexism has always plagued the sport of golf. As ESPN points out, it was not until 2012 that Augusta National allowed female members to join, and Burning Tree Golf Club in Maryland only recently allowed women into the clubhouse “to shop for Christmas gifts for their husbands by appointment only.”
Criticism doesn’t seem to bother Alliss, who remarked to Newsweek that 2017 could be his last year on the job. When asked how he’d like to be remembered, he said, “Oh, I don’t worry about things like that. I just want people to think, ‘He was fun.’”
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