Wayne Player, son of South African golfing great Gary Player, has been “banned” from future Masters for using last Thursday’s opening ceremony as an opportunity to promote golf balls.
That’s according to Wayne’s brother Marc Player.
Last Thursday’s opening ceremony centered around Lee Elder, the first back man to play in the Masters.
Elder, now 86, played in the 1975 Masters, and was honoured on the first tee when Gary Player, a three-time winner of the Masters, joined six-time green jacket winner Jack Nicklaus to get the tournament underway.
However, while Elder was receiving the applause of the patrons in attendance at Augusta National, Wayne Player, who was serving as his father’s “caddy” for the opening tee shots, stood behind Elder holding a sleeve of OnCore golf balls in such a way as to give the logo maximum visibility and exposure.
The actions of Wayne Player drew heavy criticism on social media.
The issue wasn’t the appearance of the logos themselves, but the brazen and obvious nature of the move.
OnCore CEO Keith Blakely said in a statement that the company “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 were a distraction from the wonderful recognition being paid to Mr. Elder.”
Wayne Player, who owns a stake in OnCore, subsequently told Golf Digest there was “zero intent” to upstage Elder’s ceremony.
“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 Player claimed.
“That’s where it ends. If I’ve hurt people’s feelings then I’m truly sorry and hope they will forgive me.”
OnCore are one of Gary Player’s numerous sponsors.
Wayne Player’s brother Marc Player tweeted after the tournament that Wayne had been banned from Augusta National, “Wayne has since correctly been banned from Augusta National and The Masters tournament,” Marc Player wrote. “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.”
This isn’t 58-year-old Wayne Player’s first instance of controversy.
He was arrested in 2018 during the Masters fraud charges.
The 85th Masters saw Hideki Matsuyama become the first Japanese player to don the coveted green jacket.
Can’t think of a tournament in recent history that’s had a more contrasting beginning and end. pic.twitter.com/mED73R1tSN
— Kyle Porter (@KylePorterCBS) April 12, 2021
— No Laying Up (@NoLayingUp) April 8, 2021