We’ve known about Tiger Woods’ sexual sins for nearly five months. There’s been plenty of time for all who have a vested interest in the game of golf and Woods’ contribution to it, to voice their opinions and concerns. Yet Billy Payne, Chairman of Augusta National Golf Club, chose the day before this year’s Masters Tournament began to pronounce his own admonition.
No question Woods’ awful behavior still is too fresh to completely ignore, and Payne certainly had one of those vested interests. But Augusta National prides itself on tightly controlling its brand and image, especially during Masters Week. Golf during that week always has been the strict focus; controversies have been marginalized as much as possible. Payne, however, for some unexplained reason, chose to snap all attention back to Tiger’s tattered image and, as a result, thus taking some of the bloom off of Augusta National’s fabled dogwoods and azaleas.
On the day before the tournament, why wasn’t it time to let those salacious dalliances retreat to the shadows and allow the grandeur of the Masters to re-emerge? And who better than the chairman to make the transition?
But, Billy Payne decided more had to be said about Tiger Woods:
“…it is the fact that he disappointed all of us…”
Our hero did not live up to the role model we sought for our children.”
“…his future will never again be measured only by his performance against par, but measured by the sincerity of his efforts to change.” (Click on video below.)
While it’s customary for Augusta National’s chairman to make a statement before competition begins, Payne had a perfect opportunity to refocus attention on his tournament instead of the soiled reputation of one of its players.