Gary Player spoke out on Sunday for the first time since his son Wayne’s golf ball controversy at the Masters last week and said that while he believes he was “wrong” for what has been perceived as a marketing stunt, there was no “malice” behind his actions.
Player told WFAN radio that his son Wayne Player, who was working as his caddie, was “wrong” to hold up the golf balls they would be using during the opening ceremony honoring Lee Elder as the first Black player to participate in the event.
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“It was wrong,” he began. “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.’”
Player did not say if his son was actually banned because of the incident, something his other son, Marc, alleged had happened.
“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 wrote on Twitter.
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According to the New York Post, the Player brothers are estranged from one another.
“I don’t think he did it with any malice,” Player continued to say of Wayne’s antics. “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.”
Player said his son and Elder have a very good relationship and that Elder seemed to forgive him in a phone call after the incident.
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“Lee Elder is a very dear friend of Wayne’s, a very dear friend,” he 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.’”