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Billy f*cking Payne

April 9, 2010

Tiger’s back. Now 149 other PGA Tour card-holders can breathe much more easily, with their cash-cow returned to the pasture. Hopefully he and Mrs Woods will come to private terms over a matter than was never public business in the first place, and we can all concentrate on him doing what he really does best.

Most hopefully of all, we will near no more of Mr Billy Payne, the chairman of Augusta National Golf Club, who so forgot himself in his opening remarks at this week’s Masters that he took it upon himself to  deliver a public lecture to one of his honoured guests and past champions, an outburst so presumptuous, out of place and offensive that even the establishment BBC’s commentary figures, who have good need to be nice to the Augusta Committee, were moved to comment on it.

Here’s how it is Billy. Tiger Woods is Tiger Woods and you’re just the chairman of a bunch of rich guys from Georgia whose ancestors managed to build their connections with another rich guy, Bobby Jones, into a modern major golf championship, even though it shouldn’t be since it’s an invitation event not open, with those entry passes in the hands of Billy and his ilk. You are of no real consequence, and neither are your views.

As I write, Tiger is four under after four holes of the second round. After such a tie away, he’ll struggle to win, but I hope he does, if only to see the look on Mr Payne’s face. Such are the arcane rules of the place that the ill-fitting, bad taste green blazer  that is the winner’s only trophy can’t be taken out of the club. (Here’s your prize buddy, but you can’t have it. Jack Nicklaus has six; I wonder if even one shows any sign of wear.) That’s a pity, because I’m pretty sure that if the Tiger could take one home, he’d use it to polish the Escalade . . . or maybe he’d give it to Stevie; that would really wind them up.

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