Gary Player’s son Wayne has lifetime Masters ban for golf ball stunt

Wayne Player, son of golf legend Gary Player, has confirmed he has been banned from Augusta National over a mistimed marketing stunt.

Last year, as The Masters was honoring Lee Elder, the first black man ever to compete in the major, Wayne Player promoted a golf ball brand prominently in the screen.

This week, he opened up about the situation to Golf Digest.

“Well, they say there’s no such thing as bad publicity,” Wayne 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 claimed he made amends with Lee Elder before he died at 87 last year.

“I’ve got Lee’s cellphone 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.”

Wayne Player displays the golf ball during the Masters opening ceremony on April 8, 2021.
Getty Images
Gary Player (left) with his son Gary during a practice in 1995.
Gary Player (left) with his son Gary during a practice in 1995.
Popperfoto via Getty Images

Player also weighed in on the controversy of his father, three-time Masters champ Gary Player, wearing a “Golf Saudi” logo promoting the controversial upstart Saudi Golf League at Augusta this year.

“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?” the younger Player said. “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 continued. “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.”

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