During the Thursday morning tradition which is the masters tournament teeing off ceremony, honorary starters Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus were joined on Augusta National’s first tee for the first time by Lee Elder, who is the first African-American man to compete in the big one.
Elder, who hasn’t hit a golf shot from the first tee, was introduced and recognized first by Augusta National President Fred Ridley. At the end of the introduction, Elder stood up and received an enthusiastic ovation from the crowd around the first tee.
Many fans who were watching the ceremony from home on a live broadcast of the Masters, however, noticed that someone was removing Elder’s moment. Gary Player’s son Wayne, who was the ceremonial caddy of the Nine Major Winner for tradition, held a round of OnCore Golf Vero X1 golf balls in his hand throughout Elder’s introduction and ceremony. . It was clear from the footage that Wayne Player was peddling the golf balls continually holding them prominently in his hand, visible to cameras broadcasting the event.
Oh, I guarantee you it was. Just look at these gettys, the dude held it up the whole time. pic.twitter.com/O8F6X3TjWt
– Adam Rehberg (@rehbirdie) April 8, 2021
Fans have reacted negatively to Wayne Player’s actions, suggesting that Player was intentionally withdrawing Elder’s big moment of recognition. OnCore Golf, which counts Gary Player among its ambassadors and staff, has also been criticized for the association.
Critics have grown so strong online that Buffalo, NY-based OnCore Golf posted a statement on Twitter berating Wayne Player.
The statement said, in part: “We are aware of the criticisms that were raised following the display of our product by Wayne Player at this morning’s teeing off ceremony at the Masters, more specifically during the introduction by Lee Elder, one of the golf pioneers. We did not ask or ask Mr. Player to have our ball handle visible during the ceremony and we are sorry if his actions caused an offense or were a distraction from the wonderful recognition given to Mr. Elder. . “
Official statement from the CEO of OnCore Golf pic.twitter.com/JAY0CMqMWR
– Golf OnCore (@OnCoreGolf) April 8, 2021
It’s unclear why Wayne Player chose to do this, especially during the introduction and recognition of Elder.