Wayne Player, son of 9-times champion Gary Player, has revealed he received a life ban from The Masters after his controversial marketing campaign at the 2021 Opening Ceremony.
Player Jr. joins his father and fellow rookie honours, Jack Nicklaus and Lee Elder on the first stepping stone to the proceedings. Elder was making his honorary debut after being invited by Augusta National Officials in recognition of being the first African-American master’s contender. His poor health prevented him from playing a bullet but his presence was felt when Fred Ridley addressed the patrons with an honest letter.
However, the occasion was somewhat overshadowed when Player Jr stood alongside the honorary rookie and carried a sleeve of balls in front of a clear view of the cameras in what was seen as an attempt to advertise the brand to the world of golf. The ball manufacturer expressed its dissatisfaction with Player Jr’s behavior and said it was not aware of Player Jr’s attempts to attract attention to the brand and did not encourage or endorse it.
At the time, Player Jr rejected claims that he was advertising the product and instead insisted he wanted people to know which golf ball his father was using. He remained shy about the events of the following year, but the 58-year-old has since broken his silence in an interview with Golf Digest and revealed exactly how Augusta National responded to the incident.
Well, he said, they say there’s no such thing as bad publicity – I found out it’s not quite right. “I don’t mind telling people. To be completely transparent, I think it’s a great story because you know, the National never officially comes out and says, ‘Oh, we, you know, don’t let Wayne Player go back to the Masters.’ They never said that to the media.” .that’s just the way they do it. They don’t say much.”
Player Jr revealed that he sent a written letter of apology to Augusta National but was met with an intolerant response. “He said thanks but no thanks.” He added, “He said, ‘You know, we appreciate you reaching out and apologizing, we accept your apology, but we won’t change our position, we won’t let you go back. You ruined a special moment in the history of golf.'”
The event at the 2021 Masters Opening Ceremony wasn’t the first time the junior player had upset Augusta Nationals officials. Two years ago, he was arrested for fraud due to an incident related to renting a house at 2018 Masters. He wore the check he wrote to the homeowners, and despite his repeated assurances, he never followed through with the payment. He spent what he described as “five nights of hell” in a nearby prison, but the allegations were later dropped.
In the same Masters, a son’s player battery was charged after he failed to deliver a package that promised tickets, meals, drinks, and his father’s meeting with his father. In an interaction with a proposed buyer, Player was accused of hitting him in the head; Although he described the events as “a thrust in my head, not a full headshot”. The charge was reduced to disorderly conduct and a $300 fine was ordered.