'Absolute disgrace': Legend's son 'banned' over 'shameful' Masters act

Andrew Reid
·3-min read
Wayne Player can be seen here holding up a branded sleeve of golf balls at the Masters.
Wayne Player was labelled a 'disgrace' over an incident many fans branded a 'shameful' publicity stunt. Pic: Twitter

The son of golfing legend Gary Player has reportedly been banned from attending Augusta National over a Masters stunt that sparked widespread outrage.

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.

What was supposed to be a moment all about Elder, became overshadowed by Player's son Wayne, who joined the group as an honorary caddie for his famous father.

However, eagle-eyed fans spotted the younger player holding a branded sleeve of golf balls in the background of photos, in what has largely been panned as a "shameful" promotional stunt.

Labelled "disgraceful" by many viewers on social media, Wayne Player faced a storm of backlash on social media as a result.

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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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Player 'truly sorry' about controversy

Masters officials did not immediately confirm that Player had been banned, with the man himself claiming it was all a big misunderstanding.

Player told Golf Digest that he merely wanted to pay respect to his father by displaying the ball he would be using during the 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 said.

Wayne Player is seen here standing next to golf icon Lee Elder.
Wayne Player says he never intended to disrespect Lee Elder's wonderful moment. Pic: Getty

“That’s where it ends. If I’ve hurt people’s feelings, then I’m truly sorry and hope they will forgive me.”

The chief executive of the OnCore golf company displayed on the ball sleeve, insisted his company had no part in the stunt.

“We did not ask or instruct Mr Player to have our ball sleeve visible during the ceremony and are sorry if his actions caused any offence or was a distraction from the wonderful recognition being paid to Mr Elder," OnCore CEO Keith Blakely said in a statement.

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