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Wayne Player will be able to watch The Masters again, but he will just have to do it from home.
That’s because the son of Gary Player has been banned from Augusta National and therefore, The Masters, after a marketing stunt gone wrong.
Lee Elder gestures as he arrives for the ceremonial tee shots before the first round of the Masters golf tournament on Thursday, April 8, 2021, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
It happened last year when The Masters was honoring Lee Elder as the first black man to ever compete in a major. As Elder was being honored, Wayne Player obnoxiously promoted a golf ball brand right on the screen. Wayne Player served as his father’s caddy.
Elder died last year at the age of 87, but an apologetic Wayne Player said he had a chance to make amends with Elder first. He admitted the timing of the marketing tactic was way off, in an interview with Golf Digest.
Honorary starter Lee Elder, left, gestures as he is introduced and applauded by honorary starters Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus, right, before the ceremonial tee shots to begin the Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Ga., Thursday, April 8, 2021. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)
“Well, they say there’s no such thing as bad publicity,” Player said. “I found out that that’s not quite true. I had probably 50 texts after that, 40 of them said I’m a marketing genius, 10 were like, ‘What the hell were you thinking?’ It wasn’t premeditated, but it was a tacky thing.”
He said Elder expressed no hard feelings. Far from it.
“I called and I said, ‘You know, Lee, I love you guys.’ You know, everyone said I was disrespectful for a special moment in time,” Player said. “I said I was sorry, and I didn’t mean to take up his special time. And he said, ‘Wayne, you know how much I love you. Right?’ It didn’t cross his mind. That’s important for people to know.”
Gary Player won three Masters during his heyday, a feat that few have accomplished. He has been on the course at Augusta plenty. Now Wayne will never get that chance again.