Payne has no right to scold Tiger Woods

AUGUSTA, Ga. — Who knew God made a high horse low enough for Billy Payne to saddle?

All I know is the authorities better kill it, lest O.J. Simpson or Bernie Madoff mount the nag in a prison break.

On the eve of Tiger Woods' return to tournament golf, Payne, the chairman of Augusta National Golf Course, used his annual Masters news conference to add his voice to the throng of self-righteous hypocrites blasting Woods for the golfer's sexual promiscuity.

"Finally," Payne said Wednesday as he wrapped up his opening comment, "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 (Tiger) 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."


Payne should be immediately drug tested. He's chairman of a club with a history of exclusionary membership policies that would embarrass even the angriest Tea Party protesters.

You can't preach ethics and morality from Payne's bully pulpit. The stench of hypocrisy makes it sound like bull(spit).

Black and brown folks have kids and grandkids, too. And so do women.

It wasn't until the Shoal Creek Golf Club/PGA Championship controversy in the early 1990s that Augusta National decided to invite a token black member. Augusta National still doesn't have a female member, which does not bother me but does troublesome female golf fans.

Augusta National Golf Course, home to America's premier golf event, stands as a shining symbol of white male supremacy.

From that perch, you do not get to lecture about who has and hasn't let America's children down. Payne and Augusta National forfeited that right. Payne sounded no different from Al Sharpton railing against white racism without first apologizing for the black bigotry that had him fronting the Tawana Brawley hoax.

"Is there a way forward? I hope yes. I think yes," Payne went on about Woods. "But certainly (Tiger's) 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."


USA Today columnist Christine Brennan brought up the elephant in the room, asking Payne if Augusta National should reach out to women golfers and women golf fans.

"Well, we don't — the tens of millions of dollars we have contributed to the growth of the game through the years, I think has certainly helped with both men's and women's golf," Payne said. "I think the rest of that may be a membership kind of issue, Christine. As you know, those are subject to the private deliberations of the members."

Oh, so now Payne is for private deliberations. Why does he feel it necessary to stick his nose in the private affairs of Tiger Woods, Elin Nordegren and Tiger's kids?

Surely Payne realizes several of the green-jacketed, super-wealthy Augusta National members have had the same infidelity issue as Woods. Surely Payne knows that Tiger isn't the first golfing legend to step out on his wife.

Tiger Woods' behavior was immoral and despicable. Tiger has stated that repeatedly. It's equally immoral and despicable for others to use Tiger's failings as an opportunity to project a level of morality and righteousness they clearly don't have.

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