Will Tiger Woods ever win another PGA Tour event? Augusta National chairman Billy Payne thinks so.
This week, Payne sat down with Golfweek’s Jeff Babineau for an interview to discuss Payne’s 10-year tenure as Augusta chairman. Given the four-time Masters champ’s most recent health issues, Payne was asked about Woods’ future in golf – something he says he’s been asked “thousands of times.” Payne responded saying, “Not only will we see him back, we’ll see him win again. He’s that extraordinary a talent. I know he’s had a lot of medical issues, but he’s just so good. So yes, we’ll see Tiger re-emerge as a great player.” You can read the full interview here.
Woods’ four green jackets are second only to Jack Nicklaus’ six, but his relationship with Augusta National, and specifically Chairman Payne, has not always been great.
At the 2010 Masters, on the eve of Tiger’s return to the Tour following his sex scandal, Payne famously used his Wednesday press conference to scold Woods for his behavior. “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,” Payne said. He went on to say Woods would be judged going forward not “only by his performance against par, but measured by the sincerity of his efforts to change.”
It was a bold statement coming from the head of a club that, as Sports Illustrated‘s Jim Gorant pointed out at the time, did not allow female members until 2012, nor black members until 1990.
While it’s clear now that Payne thinks Tiger will win again, the real question is whether he will win at Augusta again.
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