Scott Michaux in the Augusta Chronicle praises the club chairman for lashing out at Tiger Tuesday:
I can tell you that there was not a writer in the room who wished he hadn't penned those words him- or herself. It was an eloquent summation of the whole saga.
It was certainly the strongest public statement rebuking Woods since Parnevik apologized for introducing Woods to his future wife, Elin, for thinking "he was a better guy than he is." Payne obviously doesn't have to worry about offending Woods and causing him to take the Masters off his schedule.
It was a fatherly sort of scolding, expressing disappointment while offering hope. It definitely sent a message that the club is as disturbed as the rest of us with Woods' behavior.
George Vecsey offers a very different view of Payne's remarks in a column titled, "Thanks for the Tasteless Sermon."
Sounding like a caller on some bad sports-talk radio show, Billy from Augusta dredged up the drama that has been going on since Thanksgiving night. He came armed with a statement about a golfer scheduled to tee off Thursday and make a lot of money for Billy Payne’s people.
Rather than perform for these people, Woods should have picked up his ball and headed down the highway, get about the real business of his life, which is rehabilitation and trying to save his marriage.
Payne, who ran the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta, is now the moral voice of the Masters, or still was as this was being typed. The board members had not yet hauled him off for doing something worse than streaking amidst the azaleas.
“His future will never again be measured only by his performance against par, but measured by the sincerity of his effort to change,” Payne continued. “I hope he now realizes that every kid he passes on the course wants this swing, but would settle for his smile.”
Who asked him? Who really asked him? Perhaps Payne was busy in recent weeks and missed Woods’s somber demeanor as he discussed his return to golf after revelations of his multiple affairs. We know all this, dude. The mark of a gentleman is not to jump all over somebody in a precarious spot.
But Payne could not let up.
Vecsey also asked, "Just asking, but would Payne have been so quick to deliver his little sermon to a white golfer who was caught straying?"