May 2, 2022
It is finally official. Wayne Player was immediately banned for life from The Masters following his shameful marketing plot when Lee Elder was being honoured last year.
Augusta National has, and is remaining, tight-lipped on its reaction to the son of Gary Player holding up a packet of balls as the lenses focused and cameras clicked during the 2021 ceremonial start to the Georgia major.
As the first African-American to play in the Masters, the greenjackets invited Elder to join Player and Jack Nicklaus to drive off and although poor health precluded Elder from playing a shot - he passed away six months later - the 86-year-old was on that first tee and chairman Fred Ridley delivered an impassioned speech.
However, what is a tearjerker to some is a promotional opportunity for others and Player Jnr saw it as the perfect time to publicise the unfashionable make of ball that sponsors his father. The incident overshadowed Elder’s moment and for that, Augusta took action, taking Player Jr’s badge for the week and, for what is believed to be the first time in their history, issuing a veto on a member of a former champion.
After initially compounding the disgrace and insisting that he was merely trying to show fans which ball his father was using, Player Jr kept his own counsel for more than a year.
But now the 58-year-old - once himself a Tour pro - has broken his silence in an interview with Golf Digest which is hardly primed to bring a respectful end to this tawdry business. Instead it will fan the flames of golf’s Saudi saga after his father managed to produce his own controversy at this year’s Masters.
Source: Yahoo Sports (Photo by: New York Times)