Gary Player speaks out after son's 'disgraceful' Masters stunt

Riley Morgan
·Sports Reporter
·3-min read
Wayne Player (pictured right in white) holding golf balls and Lee Elders' (pictured left) during a presentation at the Masters.
Wayne Player (pictured right in white) was slammed for this 'shameful' stunt during Lee Elders' (pictured left) presentation at the Masters. (Image: Twitter)

Masters legend Gary Player has broken his silence after his son was involved in an Augusta National stunt, which was widely criticised.

The tournament - won by Japan's first ever men's major winner Hideki Matsuyama - got underway amid controversial circumstances during a touching tribute to Lee Elder - the first black man who was allowed to play in the Masters.

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The pioneering golfer was finally brought back to be an honorary starter, along with fellow greats of the sport, Jack Nicklaus and Player.

But the moment was tarnished after fans noticed Player's son, Wayne, in the background holding a set of golf balls with the logo pointed towards the camera.

Fans slammed the act as a "shameful" promotional stunt from Wayne.

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But after the tournament, Masters legend Gary Player has addressed the controversial incident.

However, Player didn't confirm reports that Wayne had been banned from attending the Masters.

“It was wrong,” Player told WFAN Radio, according to Golf Digest.

“And I said to Augusta, ‘Listen, a man’s got to take his punishment. If he does something wrong and you don’t want him back here again, then just bar him. That’s what you got to do.'"

“I don’t think he did it with any malice,” he added.

“He was basically telling his friends, ‘My father will play this ball.’ And I think his friends didn’t believe it because it’s not a ball on the market.”

Wayne reaches out to Masters legend Lee Elder

Player went on to tell WFAN that his son reached out to his friend, Elder, and the pair didn't have a drama with the incident.

"Lee Elder is a very dear friend of Wayne’s, a very dear friend,” Player said. “He even phoned Lee Elder and Lee Elder said, ‘Don’t worry about it. My goodness me, I’ve always loved you and you’ve always loved me.'"

Honorary Starter Lee Elder of the United States (pictured left), waves to the patrons as he is introduced and honorary starter and Masters champion Gary Player (pictured midle) and honorary starter and Masters champion Jack Nicklaus (pictured right) applaud.
Honorary Starter Lee Elder of the United States (pictured left), waves to the patrons as he is introduced and honorary starter and Masters champion Gary Player (pictured midle) and honorary starter and Masters champion Jack Nicklaus (pictured right) applaud from the first tee. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Incredibly, his brother Marc Player took to social media after the incident to apologise on behalf of the family, claiming that Wayne had been banned from Augusta National as a result.

“Wayne has since correctly been banned from Augusta National and The Masters tournament,” Marc posted to Twitter.

“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.”

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