Wayne Player, the son of golfing icon Gary Player, has been banned from Augusta and future Masters events after his attempted ‘ambush-marketing’ during the ceremonial first tee shots last week.
Wayne was acting as caddie for his father last Thursday when he was invited to tee off the competition alongside Jack Nicklaus and Lee Elder – the first black golfer to play at Augusta back in 1975.
He came in for heavy criticism after spending the majority of the ceremony holding a packet of golf balls in his hand, made by OnCore.
Wayne Player (second left) has been banned from Augusta National and The Masters
The incident was picked up by viewers and commentators at the time, leading Wayne to release an apology through Golf Digest, stating: ‘The only thought from that point was that it would be cool for fans to know what ball my dad was teeing off with.
‘That’s where it ends. If I’ve hurt people’s feelings, then I’m truly sorry and hope they will forgive me.’
However, his brother Marc has since taken to Twitter to condemn his actions.
And in doing so, he appeared to confirm that Wayne has been banned from Augusta and the Masters.
Wayne held a packet of OnCore golf balls for large parts of The Masters’ opening ceremony
After CBS golf writer Kyle Porter had commented on the difference between the beginning of the tournament and the end – pointing to the disparity of Wayne’s ambush and champion Hideki Matsuyama’s caddie Shota Hayafuji bowing on the last green – Marc responded: ‘Agreed.
‘Wayne has since correctly been banned from Augusta National and The Masters tournament.
‘What a shame. What an embarrassment. What a bad decision to allow him o nthe first tee after years of similar shenanigans.
‘My apologies to all.’
Marc Player condemned his brother’s actions, while also claiming he had been banned. Marc also referred to the incident in 2018, which saw his brother arrested on charges of fraud
OnCore have since released their own statement to claim no prior knowledge of the stunt pulled by Wayne on the first tee.
‘We are aware of the criticisms that have been raised as a result of our product being displayed by Wayne Player at this morning’s ceremonial tee shot at the Masters, most specifically during the introduction of Lee Elder, one of golf’s trailblazers,’ chairman and CEO Keith Blakely wrote.
‘We did not ask or instruct Mr Player to have our ball sleeve visible during the ceremony and are sorry if his actions caused any offense or was a distraction from the wonderful recognition being paid to Mr Elder.’
It is not the first time Wayne Player has caused controversy at Augusta. In 2019, he was arrested and held for five days in a Georgia prison cell after his cheque for a Masters rental accommodation in 2018 bounced.
Describing his experience, he told Golf Channel: ‘I spent five days and five nights of hell. I was jailed for 22 out of 24 hours a day. It was not a pleasant experience.’
Source: Daily Mail Australia | World News