Wayne Player, son of Masters legend Gary Player, has been "banned" from future Masters for using a solemn ceremony as an opportunity to promote golf balls, that according to Wayne's brother Marc.
Last Thursday's ceremonial tee shot centered on Lee Elder, the first Black man to play in the Masters. However, while Elder was receiving the accolades of Augusta National and surrounding patrons, Wayne Player, serving as his father's caddy, stood behind Elder clearly holding a sleeve of OnCore golf balls in such a way as to give the logo maximum visibility.
The move drew immediate heavy criticism on social media, with many established golf commentators expressing disbelief and disappointment that Wayne Player would use such a momentous occasion for product placement. The issue wasn't the appearance of the logos themselves — almost every player at the Masters, including Elder himself, wears shirts and caps with logos — but the brazen and obvious nature of the move.
Wayne Player, who owns a stake in OnCore, 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 said. “That’s where it ends. If I’ve hurt people’s feelings then I’m truly sorry and hope they will forgive me.”
Wayne's brother Marc tweeted after the tournament that Wayne had been banned from Augusta National:
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
"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."
Yahoo Sports reached out to Augusta National for clarification. Here is the club's response:
"We do not comment on matters pertaining to ticketing or credentialing, especially when it relates to something so specific."
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 was a distraction from the wonderful recognition being paid to Mr. Elder."
Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Follow him on Twitter at @jaybusbee or contact him at email@example.com.
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