Friday 23 February 2018

Woods feels the wrath of host club chairman for scandal

Karl MacGinty

TIGER WOODS was given a dressing-down last night by one of the most powerful men in golf.

Billy Payne (below), chairman of Augusta National, host club for this week's US Masters, lambasted Woods for neglecting his responsibility to golf and allowing himself to become embroiled in a sex scandal.

Tiger might have been embraced by his fellow professionals and greeted enthusiastically by fans on his return to the golfing fold at Augusta this week.

But Payne used his annual eve-of-Masters address to let the World No 1 know just how much he'd let down his golf, the people who play it and the fans.

As the disgraced World No 1 made his final preparations for his first tournament in nearly five months, the chairman said: "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 grandkids.

"Our hero did not live up to the expectations of the role model we saw for our children.

"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 by the sincerity of his efforts to change.

"I hope he now realises 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."

Payne later revealed he spoke to four-times Masters champion Woods at Tuesday night's annual Champions Dinner but declined to reveal the contents of their conversation.

Irish Independent

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