Wayne Player, son of Masters legend Gary Player, has been “banned” from future Masters for utilizing a solemn ceremony as a possibility to advertise golf balls, that in line with Wayne’s brother Marc.
Last Thursday’s ceremonial tee shot centered on Lee Elder, the first Black man to play in the Masters. However, whereas 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 means as to provide the brand most visibility.
The transfer drew immediate heavy criticism on social media, with many established golf commentators expressing disbelief and disappointment that Wayne Player would use such a momentous event for product placement. The problem wasn’t the looks of the logos themselves — virtually each participant on the Masters, together with Elder himself, wears shirts and caps with logos — however the brazen and apparent nature of the transfer.
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 stated. “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 match 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.”
“We did not ask or instruct Mr. Player to have our ball sleeve visible during the ceremony,” OnCore CEO Keith Blakely stated in an announcement, “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 author for Yahoo Sports. Follow him on Twitter at @jaybusbee or contact him at [email protected]
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