WHEN the end came, the sign off was unmistakably Peter Alliss. “Here’s to next April, when we’ll do it all again. Bravo, Dustin Johnson, Masters champion.”

They would be his final words on the BBC. A few weeks later, Alliss had passed away at the age of 89 and the game had lost a very special and inimitable Voice of Golf.

Last year’s November Masters was so different in so many ways. The old Beeb had lost its live rights and were limited to a nightly highlights package. In the Covid-stricken times, the commentary was done, not from Augusta, but Salford. Less Magnolia Lane, more Coronation Street.

Alliss, meanwhile, performed his duties from his home in Surrey. It was a strange swansong for strange times.

Normality is returning this week. The familiarity of Augusta is as comforting as Alliss’ repartee. But that will be missing now. The Masters, then, still won’t be quite the same.

“We always knew this moment would come at some point,” reflected Andrew Cotter, who worked alongside Alliss in the BBC’s commentary booth. “Golf has huge tradition, a feeling of comfort and familiarity. Part of that was listening to Peter and to be doing BBC golf commentary without him is going to be very, very odd.

“His finishes over winning putts were always a gentle appreciation of what had happened. His great commentary came from the whole event. A golf tournament is a long process and he wasn’t just saving up for one line on the final putt.

“He would give you something at 11am on the Thursday morning and you’d be enjoying him as much on the Sunday afternoon.

“He knew he didn’t have many more events and there was always a hint of wistfulness in his final commentaries. For him to have been at home doing last year’s Masters, in strange circumstances, in the dark of November, must have been very bittersweet.

“It would have been lovely for him to have had one more trip to Augusta but at least he was on the BBC still commentating. He got to do Tiger winning in 2019, that was a fitting finish.

“Peter was always going to be a hard act to follow for all of us. People will miss his humour and his style but they will miss that familiar voice more than anything.”

Cotter himself has become a welcoming, informative and engaging voice across a host of sports. Oh, and don’t forget his commentary on the canine capers of his dogs, Mabel and Olive.

The canny, 47-year-old Scot continues to display the kind of multi-tasking qualities that used to be the reserve of the Swiss Army knife. Alliss’ passing cut to the quick but his life and work will always be celebrated and treasured.

“Peter liked people who got him, who could tickle his humour and who had a passion for golf,” added Cotter. “If you could tick those boxes, then great. He was great company, on and off the mic. It was a bit strange, surreal even, sitting alongside this figure you had listened to for so many years. It was the same with Bill McLaren at the rugby. These are the voices of your sport, the voices you had followed since childhood so to sit alongside Bill and Peter was a wonderful thrill.”

Alliss was golf’s redoubtable raconteur and his playful, meandering levity was perfectly suited for this befuddling game of abundant absurdities and peculiarities.

“Sport is not always serious and, like life, you need the lighter moments,” said Troon-born Cotter. “You need the lightness of touch, which Peter was brilliant at. There was always a line that made people chuckle and there aren’t many who can do what he did. They can try but it’s an art and a skill that few have.”

Cotter first went to The Masters some 20 years ago and was even jammy enough to come out of the media ballot to play Augusta on the Monday after its finale.

“I played well tee to green, that’s what I tell people,” he said with a chuckle. “There was a ridiculous amount of three putts.”

The magic of The Masters still invigorates the senses even though Cotter and his team will not get to savour spring time in Georgia again this week.

Absence, no doubt, will make the heart grow fonder.

“In these times of uncertainty, you want to take comfort in the familiar,” said Cotter.

“We’ll try and make it as familiar as possible despite Peter not being there."