Honorary Starters Lee Elder, Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus laugh at 85th Masters (AFP)
Jared C. Tilton / Getty Images via AFP
- Nine-time Major champion Gary Player’s son Wayne has been reportedly banned from Augusta National Golf Club.
- Wayne came under scrutiny for an assumed marketing ploy during Lee Elder’s historic introduction at the Honorary Start.
- Wayne’s brother Marc took to Twitter to apologise for the “embarrassment” and stated that his brother was “correctly banned”.
Gary Player’s son Wayne Player has reportedly been banned from Augusta National after being accused of pulling a publicity stunt during the Masters ‘Honorary Start’ last Thursday.
This year Lee Elder, who in 1975 became the first black player to play in the Masters, joined Jack Nicklaus and Player on the first tee as an honorary starter at the tournament.
It was a touching moment of history for the 86-year-old Elder.
But as the ceremony’s video made its rounds on social media, observant fans noticed the positioning of Player’s 58-year-old son.
Wayne, who was serving as his father’s caddie, positioned himself behind Elder and was seen holding a box of OnCore golf balls.
OnCore is a sponsor of Gary Player.
The move came under scrutiny for an assumed marketing ploy and saw Player’s brother Marc apologise for his sibling’s behaviour.
Marc also took to Twitter to confirm that his brother is now banned from Augusta National.
“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 on the first tee after years of similar shenanigans. My apologies to all,” he wrote.
Despite Marc’s tweet on Monday, Augusta National and the Masters have yet to confirm whether Wayne has been banned.
Speaking to Golf Digest after the controversy, Wayne stated that he had “zero intention” of trying to market the OnCore golf brand.
“The only thought from that point was that it would be cool for fans to know what ball my dad was teeing off with,” Wayne told Golf Digest.
“That’s where it ends. If I’ve hurt people’s feelings then I’m truly sorry and hope they will forgive me.”
This isn’t Wayne Player’s first brush of controversy, as he was arrested on fraud charges in Georgia during the 2018 Masters.
The 85th Masters saw Hideki Matsuyama make history to become the first Japanese man to win a major golf championship as he won his maiden green jacket.
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 on the first tee after years of similar shenanigans. My apologies to all.
— Marc Player (@Marc_Player) April 12, 2021
Gary Player’s son/caddie really did stand there the entire ceremony hawking golf balls. https://t.co/brfxRXwVxw pic.twitter.com/jZZNc0lQZb
— No Laying Up (@NoLayingUp) April 8, 2021
A great golfer, celebrated at a great tradition. Less could be said for Gary Player’s caddie trying to flog golf balls in the background ?? https://t.co/1zm0SyPt3F
— Cameron Brodie (@_Cameron_Brodie) April 8, 2021