Gary Player’s son Wayne is no stranger to controversy when it comes to Augusta National – and now he has taken a swipe at the club.
His golf legend father has not been offered full membership of the exclusive Masters venue, despite the honour being bestowed on Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer, the other members of the “big three”.
Now, in an interview with Golf Digest, Wayne claimed he is “hurt” by the snub.
“If I’m actually honest, it hurts me that Augusta National have not invited my dad to be a full member at the club,” the 56-year-old said.
“I mean, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer were invited to be full members. And we know there’s a lot of criteria around there, but nobody’s represented the game of golf better than Gary Player. Why they haven’t is a shame.”
Player also confirmed he is effectively banned from the grounds at Augusta following a controversial incident at last year’s tournament.
Lee Elder, the first black man to play in the Masters, was invited to be an honorary starter – but Player hijacked the moment by standing behind Elder holding a box of OnCore golf balls in an attempt at guerrilla marketing.
However, although his actions were widely condemned, he insisted he deserves forgiveness for his actions.
But letters to chairman Fred Ridley have so far yielded no success in having his ban overturned.
“I had probably 50 texts after that, 40 of them said I’m a marketing genius, 10 were like, ‘What the hell were you thinking?’,” Player said.
“It wasn’t premeditated, but it was a tacky thing.”
“I understand why people took offence to it,” he added.
“Jack, the Golden Bear himself, told me, ‘What are you thinking?’ I said, ‘You know, Jack, you’re right.’ You have to be accountable when you mess up.”