AUGUSTA -- It's no secret that Augusta National Chairman Billy Payne keeps a close eye on his beloved club, but is he doing so with Big Brother-style video cameras?
Sharp-eyed patrons who visit Amen Corner during the Masters this weekend will notice cameras attached to a pine tree in the cluster of pines to the right of the tee box at the par-3 12th. (See photos, above and below.)
Sports Illustrated’s Michael Bamberger recently reported that Payne installed the cameras as a means to enforce club rules. "[Payne] wants life at Augusta National to unfold in a genteel and time-honored way, and he will use modern means to get it," Bamberger wrote.
"Club members and employees say that Payne has installed video cameras in trees on the course. How else, they ask, could Payne know immediately after a round that a member had permitted a caddie to drive a cart on the course, or violate any other Payne edict?"
The club may be watching, but it's not talking.
Asked how many cameras are on the course and what purpose they serve, Augusta National spokesman Steve Ethun would say only that they are security cameras.
"We are committed to the safety of everyone on our grounds," he said.