Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Augusta chairman: Tiger disappointed all of us

Augusta National chairman Billy Payne left no doubt this afternoon that he expects more from Tiger Woods than words, birdies and bogeys.

In his annual pre-tournament news conference, Payne said Woods will be judged in the future by his actions rather than his golf scores.

In his initial comments, Payne recognized Woods' great achievements as a golfer before turning to his personal conduct.

"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 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."

Payne didn't offer much more about Woods other than to say the tournament has taken what it feels are adequate security measures to account for his presence and that Woods attended the annual champions dinner Tuesday night at the club.