Billy Payne’s remarks on Woods

Remarks by Augusta National Golf Club chairman Billy Payne

regarding Tiger Woods. They were made at the end of Payne’s opening

statement during his annual press conference at the Masters:

“Finally, we are not unaware of the significance of this week

to a very special player, Tiger Woods. A man who in a brief 13

years clearly and emphatically proclaimed and proved his game to be

worthy of the likes of Bobby Jones, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold

Palmer. 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.

“But as he now says 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 grand kids. Our hero did not

live up to the expectations of the role model we saw for our


“Is there a way forward? I hope yes. I think yes. But certainly

his future will never again be measured only by his performance

against par; but measured by the sincerity of his efforts to

change. I hope he now 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 the lives of other people.

We at Augusta hope and pray that our great champion will begin his

new life here tomorrow in a positive, hopeful and constructive

manner, but this time, with a significant difference from the past.

This year, it will not be just for him, but for all of us, who

believe in second chances.”