Gary Player doesn’t really seem sure what Augusta should do with his son.
The golfing legend commented for the first time on the ball controversy that erupted at the opening ceremony of the Masters last week.
Wayne Player held up a sleeve of balls in a guerrilla marketing stunt as Lee Elder was being honored as the first black golfer to participate in the Masters. After the video went viral, Gary’s other son, Marc, chastised Wayne and claimed his brother was banned from Augusta.
“It was wrong,” Gary Player told WFAN. “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.’”
However, Player did not confirm whether Wayne was actually banned and the Georgia golf club has been mum on the subject.
“Let me tell you, Augusta has done a lot of things that a lot of people don’t like, as well, throughout history,” Player said.
The incident shined a light on the messy history of Player’s sons, who are estranged from each other. Wayne was arrested for bouncing checks to rent a home in 2018 in the Augusta area, while Marc’s company was sued by Gary in which the golfer won $5 million and the rights to his name and likeness back.
“I don’t think he did it with any malice,” Gary said of Wayne. “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.”
Gary did confirm that Wayne and Elder, who were seen laughing and talking together during the ceremony, do have a solid relationship that has not been soured by the ball stunt.
“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.’”