Masters chairman Billy Payne chastises Tiger Woods in address

Augusta — Augusta National Golf Club and Masters Tournament Chairman Billy Payne took Tiger Woods to task during his annual chairman’s address.

After comparing Woods the golfer to Bobby Jones, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus, Payne proceeded to chastise Woods the role model for his behavior off the course and toward fans.

“As he ascended in our rankings of the world’s great golfers, he became an example to our kids that success is directly attributable to hard work and effort,” Payne said during his opening remarks. “But as he now says of himself, he forgot in the process to remember that with fame and fortune comes responsibility, not invisibility. It is not simply the degree of his conduct that is so egregious here; it is the fact that he disappointed all of us and, more importantly, our kids and our grandkids. Our hero did not live up to the expectations we saw for our children.”

Payne seemed to be as bothered by how aloof Woods is in public as he was by his private transgressions.

“Certainly his future will never again be measured only by his performance against par, but measured by the sincerity in his efforts to change,” Payne said. “I hope he realizes that every kid he passes on the course wants his swing but would settle for his smile.

“I hope he can come to understand that life’s greatest rewards are reserved for those who bring joy to other people.”

Payne, a UGA graduate and Atlanta native, also addressed several other subjects in his annual remarks, traditionally delivered the day before the Masters begins.

  • The new practice facility and Augusta National’s commitment to “the concept of perpetual improvement.”
  • Changes to the golf course, which includes lengthening the tees on No. 5 and No. 13, expanding the patron corridor between the No. 1 tee and the practice green and rebuilding the greens on Nos. 2 and 15 to encourage more players to try to reach the par-5 holes in two shots.
  • Broadcasting the tournament — and today’s Par-3 Contest — for the first time in 3D.
  • Sponsoring (along with the Royal & Ancient Golf Club in Great Britain) the Asian Amateur Championship. The winner is an automatic qualifer.

246 comments Add your comment

It's About Time

April 7th, 2010
5:51 pm

I just read what Augusta Native said. He is right on target. I too am an Augusta native. The Augusta National have always run the tournament on their terms; they are not in it for the money, and they could care less what the world thinks. It is a totally private club with a membership (though not made public) of many of the brightest, wealthiest, and most influential people in the world. And YES, that DOES include black members.

EZ

April 7th, 2010
5:52 pm

What a pompous old windbag. I didn’t know being chairman of a narrow insular private club makes you qualified to judge the character of other men. Geez just shut up and get off your high horse. You run a f*ing golf course. That’s all. Just a golf course.

Nurse Ratchet

April 7th, 2010
5:52 pm

Atta boy Billy Payne- atta boy. Maybe someday the PGA will actually step up and rip him a new one when he curses constantly, beats the ground with his clubs or throws them. Or maybe the announcers or golf writers or the golf channel will actually treat him like everyone else. He is not a God- and he certainly does not deserve getting a free pass for his terrible conduct on the golf course in front of the public including kids.

Nurse Ratchet

April 7th, 2010
5:57 pm

So the masters is just a gofl course? And therefore he has no right to express his disapproval of Tiger’s actions? Do you know much about the history of the Masters? Apparently not.

Mike

April 7th, 2010
5:59 pm

The great Billy Payne, the judgemental one. Woods is a guy who has made a great contribution to what the Masters has become and he chooses this week to “chastise”. Very poor taste.

SMITTYSTHEMAN

April 7th, 2010
6:02 pm

The Masters was the greatest golf tournament way before Tiger arrived on the scene and will be so way after as well.

lefty

April 7th, 2010
6:05 pm

I just this hick on TV. He was acting like he was Tiger’s wife + he got jilted. Without Tiger, the Masters is a bore fest. Tiger should leave, then the crowds and all of the revenue for Augusta would disappear.

black sheep

April 7th, 2010
6:09 pm

awwww lefty- a big golf fan are ya pal? But don’t know much about the Masters do ya? Tiger needs the Masters much more than the Masters needs Tiger.

It's About Time

April 7th, 2010
6:09 pm

The Masters is FAR MORE than Tiger Woods. The Masters always has been, and always will be, the greatest golf tournament played. What Payne said today was not said as a judgemental outsider. His words were spoken out of concern that someone so great in the golfing “family” could be so stupid and self-centered. He spoke as a good father would; even though he is not Tiger’s father, he OBVIOUSLY cares about him. He spoke for the children of the world who looked up to Tiger, in hopes that he might once again be worthy of that adulation.

Dawglasville

April 7th, 2010
6:09 pm

IMHO- Thanks. These things just get crazy sometimes. Something will strike a nerve in me at times and I try to step back and not add gas to the fire. Being 45 with children will give you a whole different perspective than being 20 with out kids. You can almost always tell the younger posters because they write with the same blind venom I would have wrote with at their age. Not the racist crap, just the nasty, hurtful stuff. Happy blogging in the future.

SMITTYSTHEMAN

April 7th, 2010
6:10 pm

Have you people not read Augusta native’s post? Augusta national doesn’t need any money, for crying out loud!! If Tiger left, if Jack left, if Arnie left, it wouldn’t matter. They are a self-sufficient organization that would carry on even if they decided not to have the Masters anymore!! Can you people not get it?

It's About Time

April 7th, 2010
6:11 pm

It’s a good thing it Billy Payne is in charge now, instead of the late Clifford Roberts. I can assure you that if Roberts were still alive and in charge, he would have told Tiger to just stay home this year. Like “black sheep” said, Tiger needs the Masters much more than the Masters needs Tiger.

Wreckmaniac

April 7th, 2010
6:12 pm

As a Ga Tech man, I have tremendous respect for Mr Payne. I applaud him
on speaking out from a position of authority to condemn Woods behavior.
No one man is bigger than golf and certainly no one is bigger than the
Masters Tournament. I was there Monday with my $36 practice round ticket having those great $1.50 pimento cheese sandwiches and enjoyed
every second. The Masters is the greatest tournament because it is open
to everyone. Payne’s status as All-American, the man along with Andy
Young who brought the Olympics to Atlanta and his current position gives him the right and the responsibility to define some limits to
the behavior of public figures.

Dawg stuck in Bham

April 7th, 2010
6:12 pm

Come on…if you hear the entire statement, you will see that Payne is one that truly believes in showing grace and giving second chances. It was a very powerful but graceful statement.

lefty

April 7th, 2010
6:12 pm

You’re right Mr. Sheep, all of golf is a huge snooze fest.

It's About Time

April 7th, 2010
6:13 pm

I totally agree Dawg, although I can’t say I care much for your name. LOL

black sheep

April 7th, 2010
6:14 pm

SMITTYSTHEMAN They don’t want to get it my friend. Tiger is their GOD! THey worship at his shrine. And they don’t like to read any of this. They want it all to go away- they don;t want anymore to be written. Let’s stop talking about it. Etc. He can do no wrong to them. He can do whatever he wants to in their mind.

MIKE

April 7th, 2010
6:17 pm

NONE OF HIS FU@#ING BUSINESS TO SAY THE THINGS HE SAID

black sheep

April 7th, 2010
6:18 pm

So you have to curse to express your opinion Mike? It’s that upsetting to you is it?

It's About Time

April 7th, 2010
6:30 pm

Maybe if more people were publicly held accountable for their actions, this might be a better place. Those who slam Payne while defending Tiger probably need to be taken to the woodshed too. You reap what you sow, and Tiger probably has a lot of reaping yet to do.

I like golf not tigger

April 7th, 2010
6:57 pm

Atlanta No- you just don’t want to hear anyone chastise your hero. Billy Payne was right to tell it like it is. Deal with it.

Bill

April 7th, 2010
7:57 pm

A great talk by Billy Payne. Direct but with the hope and expectation Tiger, having accomplished what the greatest golfers achieved, will now be the gentleman we also expected he would become.

crudmudgeon

April 7th, 2010
8:27 pm

First thing Billy Payne should do is look at the robber barons that are the membership of his club. How many of the members are Wall Street bankers and coal mine owners? How many of them are health insurance CEO’s and stock brokers? They’ve ripped the all of us off for trillions of dollars, sit back at their big club that they’ve declared is the ‘most exclusive’ and once a year let in the chattle for a little peek around. Meantime, the old buggers themselves (Billy Payne included) pay a measley sum to the golfers so their membership can laugh and make fun of them while they sit on the terrace nursing a stiff Manhattan followed by a Mint Julip. And we Georgians love em all cause they’re ‘just like us’. Have you noticed the rebel flag flying at the club? ……………bet you haven’t but you bet the membership thinks that way!

SMITTYSTHEMAN

April 7th, 2010
8:54 pm

And after all is said and done, and everybody has thrown their punches toward the Augusta Country Club, love ‘em or hate ‘em, it’s THEIR private club and they have the RIGHT to make the rules as long as no laws are broken. If the participants in the golf tournament don’t like it, then don’t participate. If those of you that sit at home don’t like it, don’t watch the Masters this weekend. Pretty simple.

Realist

April 7th, 2010
9:25 pm

Looks like my original post was deleted. I’ll tone it down a notch. The fake outrage in these posts is quite hilarious.

1) If you think the Masters needs Tiger, you are very, very, very wrong.

2) If you think the a Tigerless Masters would be more than a blip on the monetary radar, you are very, very wrong. Badges will still sellout. There will still be a 30yr + waiting list for badges. There will still be just as much merchandise sold. The TV contract will be just as lucrative. Its still the Masters, with or without Tiger.

3) If you’re that outraged with Billy Payne’s comments, feel free to watch something else this weekend. But you won’t. This is quite possibly the best sporting event in the world.

4) Where is the chastising the article refers to? Nothing more than journalists trying to make something out of nothing.

StAndrewsRoyalAndAncient

April 7th, 2010
9:54 pm

I can’t imagine any official of the British Open drubbing a competitor over a personal issue. Can you?

SMITTYSTHEMAN

April 7th, 2010
10:12 pm

Well said, Realist.

You gotta be freaking kidding me

April 7th, 2010
10:27 pm

Nice job Billy- while the focus of the entire golf world is on Augusta, please take the opportunity to draw even more attention to your racist, selfish, elitist stuffy old group of old codgers and your precious ‘tinnament”.
I hope Tiger wins and decides to take the green jacket and throw it in tone of the pollen covered ponds….thus making it yellow…the color of Billy Payne for not saying the words to Tiger’s face.
That would be awesome.

Connie

April 8th, 2010
6:30 am

This man’s comments were totally inappropriate at this time and for this tournament! This is about the game of golf, and while Tiger was wrong to do what he did, he has been dealing with it, working on improving himself and he appears to be honestly trying. The Masters is going to reap greatly from his return, so this man should be very glad to see him here instead of giving him yet another public whipping. Shame on the chairman! If we were allowed to look, I’m sure they all have a few skeletons in their closets. Let’s just play some golf for heaven’s sake and quit the mud-slinging, and giving all the wrong attention to this much over-talked-about issue already!!

Virginia

April 8th, 2010
6:53 am

To the posters making hurtful comments about Billy’s family–you are obviously trying to hurt Billy and his children, but think about it–you’re actually hurting his grandchildren by sharing info on the internet for anyone to read and repeat at any time in the future.

Laura

April 8th, 2010
7:35 am

Tiger made a huge mistake, he’s apologized to the public and he has apologized to his wife – which he’ll probably be doing the rest of his life – please leave him alone. None of us are perfect! Let’s move on with more important things.

Dennis

April 8th, 2010
8:14 am

This guy is an idoit, it is done of anybody’s business.

Jack

April 8th, 2010
10:16 am

Tiger,
Please respond to this racist Payne by walking out of that place and telling them to shove it. You don’t need them either!

Pat

April 8th, 2010
11:27 am

Mr. Payne’s comments were inappropriate. A public slapping around of Tiger Woods? Billy, if you had something to say to him, you should have said to him one-on-one. Mr. Payne should not be all in on the idea that celebrities and athletes should be role models for kids. THEY ARE NOT! But as with many others who have weighed in on Tiger’s troubles, people are looking for their moment in the spotlight. Tiger did wrong. Let the man handle his business. Shame on you, Billy. Shame on you.

Pat2

April 8th, 2010
12:00 pm

Mr. Payne’s comments were appropriate. A public reference to Tiger’s shameful conduct, with words of encouragement for future behavior. Billy, since in your leadership position at Augusta National, you had something to say to Tiger, you shared your thoughts in the appropriate venue. Mr. Payne is correct regarding the idea that celebrities and athletes should act as role models for kids. THEY ARE! As with many others who have weighed in on Tiger’s troubles, people are hoping that Tiger and others in the spotlight will conduct themselves in a way that will bring honor to their sport and families. Tiger did wrong. Let the man handle his business in private, but if he chooses to pursue his sport in public, then we should hold him accountable. Good for you, Billy. Good for you.

JacketMBA

April 8th, 2010
12:02 pm

Real Men of Genius. Today we salute you Mr. “expressing disappointment towards the only athlete who makes your event watchable when you head a plantation era club” guy. Crack open a Bud Light.

KGC

April 8th, 2010
1:40 pm

Not really his place to address Tiger on an individual level like that. Totally wrong, if any of you can’t see that, you’re grinding an axe on Tiger ( I don’t even like Tiger). Tiger’s actions were terrible and nobody is excusing them. But there was no need to inject Billy Payne’s personal feelings into the Masters. As much as I love the Masters, I can’t stand the fact they are so damn sanctimonious and self righteous.

PayneInTheArse

April 8th, 2010
1:51 pm

A sermon on being a “role model” from the head of the least-democratic institution in America directed at the man who has done more to elevate the Masters (and the sport of golf generally) than any other person in the history of the sport. Blow it out your @ss, you fat, self-righteous tool.

gernblanksi

April 8th, 2010
2:54 pm

This was Augusta National’s way of chastising Mr. Woods’ return to golf at their tournament. They could not revoke his privilege to play since he is an active past winner.

But I would bet that his return has irked many of the members because it has completely overshadowed their tournament. The story is not the Masters but all about Woods.

Our of respect for the Masters and its history, Woods could have come back a week or two earlier or a week or two after Augusta. Instead he chose to put the focus on this week and they are not happy about it. As a result, they decided to give their own opinion and put a bit more pressure on him.

If Tiger does not like it, then he can withdraw. But I guess we would need to ask others about Tiger’s methods on withdrawal.

RC

April 8th, 2010
4:34 pm

His comments were inappropriate and way out of line. He isn’t our morality instructor. He is the chairman of a huge corporation and has no business telling us what the measure of a man is. Tiger Woods will make him millions this week. Does he have any idea how much smaller his audience would be for the Masters if Tiger did not play? He should be thanking him for showing up, or, at the very least keep his mouth shut about heroes not living up HIS expectations. We don’t care about nor do we need to hear about his personal feelings regarding Tiger. All we need him to do is run this tournament to the best of his ability. He will be raking in the dough this weekend and for one reason and one reason only, TIGER! I kind of wish Tiger would have pulled out of the tournament after this guy’s remarks. Imagine what Payne’s reaction would have been to that. I dare say his holier-than-thou attitude would have disappeared in an instant.

Jay

April 8th, 2010
8:11 pm

Enter your comments here

Jay

April 8th, 2010
8:17 pm

Billy Payne,
You are about as stupid as Obama, you do not now when to keep your mouth shut…. Tiger is paying your salery. Look at the crowds and remember he is a 4 time masters champion. You have caused more disgrace to the club then he has, keep that in mind before you open your big mouth again. He who is without sin cast the first stone…. That by the way would not be you….

AJC reader

April 9th, 2010
6:37 am

To “Telling It Like It Is” and “Dunwoody,” your posts reveal a lot about your own issues. I’m guessing that most people who read this blog are wondering why you’re using this forum to post what you’ve written. Oh, let the rest of us guess . . . because you can put whatever you want and be anonymous? Says a lot about YOUR character . . .

Majicman

April 9th, 2010
10:29 am

if billy wants to go ahead and make a fool of himself infront of everyone let him.

Majicman

April 9th, 2010
10:29 am

Tom

April 9th, 2010
2:43 pm

In the context of his whole statement, Billy Payne’s comments were not offensive to me. He was pointing out the obvious. Add to that the fact that he is a grandfather, and that changes the way a guy thinks about behavior. I did a ton of stuff when I was young that I would not want my grandchildren to imitate or model — a much for the painful personal consequences a person experiences as well as the pain and hurt it brings to people who love you. I think Billy was saying that BECAUSE Tiger has been so loved and applauded, errors of any kind create painful, unexpected consequences. A friend of mine calls it the “Law of Unexpected Consequences.”