Wayne Player, the son of golf icon Gary Player, has announced that he has been blacklisted from the Augusta National due to an ill-advised marketing push.
Last year, while The Masters was commemorating Lee Elder, the first black man to compete in the major, Wayne Player stole the spotlight while advertising a golf ball brand.
He spoke to Golf Digest about the incident this week.
“They say there’s no such thing as bad publicity,” Wayne Player stated. “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 claimed to have made peace with Lee Elder before his death last year at the age of 87.
“I’ve got Lee’s cell phone number. 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 for Elder. 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.”
Player also commented on his father, three-time Masters champion Gary Player, donning a “Golf Saudi” emblem at Augusta this year to promote the contentious upstart Saudi Golf League.
“We can judge, you know, the Arab nation for traditions that they have. I mean, where women are not allowed to walk around like we know women can walk around, they’ve gotta have a cloak over their head. I mean, I don’t know, it’s not for me to criticize them, you know?” said the younger Player. “I mean, look, they’re very tough on law and order, you know, and they do all the stuff that would be considered barbaric there, right. That’s what [Phil Mickelson] basically said.”
“I just know that my dad was excited about, you know, being part of growing the game of golf in Saudi Arabia,” he went on, “I mean he loves golf course design. He’s always enjoyed that. He’s designed over 170 golf clubs and he’s a statesman. He’s always trying to help everybody, so nobody should be criticizing Gary Player ever.”