Augusta National Chairman Billy Payne spent a portion of his Wednesday Afternoon Masters press conference scolding Tiger Woods. It was an awkward moment and one that seems out of place. Was it really Mr. Payne’s duty to lecture Woods on his behavior?
Here is the transcript of what Mr. Payne had to say about Tiger Woods.
Mr. Billy Payne:
“As he ascended in our rankings of the world’s great golfers, he became an example to our kids that success is directly attributable to hard work and effort,” Payne said. “But as he now says himself, he forgot in the process to remember that with fame and fortune comes responsibility, not invisibility. It is not simply the degree of his conduct that is so egregious here; it is the fact that he disappointed all of us, and more importantly, our kids and our grandkids. Our hero did not live up to the expectations of the role model we saw for our children.
“Is there a way forward? I hope yes. I think yes. But, certainly, his future will never again be measured only by his performance against par, but measured by the sincerity of his efforts to change. I hope he now realizes that every kid he passes on the course wants his swing, but would settle for his smile.”
“I hope he can come to understand that life’s greatest rewards are reserved for those who bring joy to the lives of other people. We at Augusta hope and pray that our great champion will begin his new life here tomorrow in a positive, hopeful and constructive manner, but this time with a significant difference from the past. This year, it will not be just for him, but for all of us who believe in second chances.”
Woahhh there Mr. Representative of a golf club that still does not allow a woman to be a member. A golf club that did not allow an African American as a member until 1990, and even then it was under immense scrutiny. You can feel free to climb down off your high horse at any time. If he were asked in an interview on his feelings about Tiger’s missteps sure, but a prepared statement thrown into a press conference? That is pretty hard to swallow (double tiger-entendre).
The Masters is one of the great American sports traditions but it is not without its own faults and ugly history. Tiger Woods is one of the great American sports figures for whom we can now say the same. If you feel this strongly then disallow Tiger from playing your tournament. Wait you’re not interested in doing that? We didn’t think so. This is yet another odd preview to what should be an unforgettable Masters.