“Embarrassing & illegal ambush marketing by Wayne Player.”
Wayne Player, son of Gary, has been banned from The Masters for using the traditional honorary starter’s ceremony for “ambush marketing”, according to his brother Marc.
Wayne was caddying for his father at the ceremony but was heavily criticised for displaying a box of OnCore golf balls in the background of the shot as the cameras focused on Lee Elder.
Gary Player has been an ambassador and shareholder in OnCore since April 2019, according to the Daily Telegraph.
Elder was the first black golfer to play in The Masters in 1975 and was invited to join regular starters Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus this year.
The 86-year-old sharing the tradition with Player and Nicklaus was seen as a significant step for Augusta National and in the wake of heightened racial tensions in the United States over the last year.
After the incident, Marc tweeted: “Embarrassing & illegal ambush marketing by Wayne Player during a traditional ceremony @TheMasters # tonedeaf.”
— Marc Player (@Marc_Player) April 8, 2021
After Hideki Matsuyama won the Green Jacket on Sunday evening, CBS golf writer Kyle Porter tweeted a picture of Matsuyama’s caddie Shota Hayafuji bowing on the final green in respect to the golf course.
He also posted one of Wayne Player holding the packet of OnCore golf balls along with the caption: “Can’t think of a tournament in recent history that’s had a more contrasting beginning and end.”
“Agreed. Wayne has since correctly been banned from Augusta National and The Masters tournament,” Marc replied.
“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.”
Agreed. Wayne has since correctly been banned from Augusta National and The Masters tournament. 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.
— Marc Player (@Marc_Player) April 12, 2021
The “similar shenanigans” is possibly a reference to Wayne getting arrested for fraud in 2019 over an incident involving a house rental at the 2018 Masters.
The cheque he wrote to the homeowners bounced and he failed to follow through with a payment.
He spent five nights in a Georgia jail and was charged with one count of deposit account fraud or bad cheques totalling greater than $499.
However, in a Golf Channel 2019 interview, he claimed the charge was subsequently dropped after the homeowners were paid in full.
After the controversy, OnCore’s chief executive Keith Blakely released a statement last week distancing the company from the incident.
“We are aware of the criticisms that have been raised as a result of our product being displayed by Wayne Player at this morning’s ceremonial tee shot at the Masters, most specifically during the introduction of Lee Elder, one of golf’s trailblazers,” Blakely said.
“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.”