It's a tricky thing, what Payne wants to pull off. Frank Chirkinian, the famously innovative former producer of the Masters telecast for CBS, has described the tournament as great theater on the world's most beautiful stage, with amazing characters and an unknown outcome. For years it has been delicious. Too many lay-up shots out of the rough could kill the delicate balance of brawn and touch that made the thing so special in the first place. Too much exposure could too. The Internet is many things, but grand it's not. The future of the tournament, and the way a new generation is introduced to the game, to some significant degree rests in Payne's hands. He says that making good decisions is all about having a vision, listening well and "surrounding yourself with a good team." Clifford Roberts would never have said it that way, but he would have thought it. The new guy has the same mandate that Roberts did. Billy Payne's not trying to sell a thing-except a great game, a spring golf tournament and the club that hosts it.
A golf hole, humanly speaking, is like life, in as much as one cannot judge justly of any person’s character the first time one meets him. Sometimes it takes years to discover and appreciate hidden qualities which only time discloses, and he usually discloses them on the links.