Masters' Chairman Billy Payne takes on Tiger

Billy Payne, the chairman of the Masters, had his "State of the Masters" press conference this morning.

He decided to launch a groundbreaking campaign to paint Tiger Woods as a poor role model who disappointed his fans. You can see his other remarks here.

On one hand, he's right. ESPN, for whatever reason, seems to think that this was a pretty harsh move by the folks at Augusta. I don't really understand their surprise. Tiger has been accused of sleeping with a multitude of mistresses, abusing pain killers, and using banned substances over the past several months.

On the other hand, his closing remark that Tiger would not distract from the tradition and legacy of the Masters is a joke. If he believes this, he is either delusional or kidding himself.

Payne told the media:
"We are very secure in who we are, and the Masters has almost now a 74-year history. We just kind of do things our way. We are not threatened by other big news stories or things like that."

How many times have you thought about Steve Stricker's or Padraig Harrington's chance to win over the past couple of weeks? Seriously?

The reality is that the 2010 Masters will be remembered as the return of Tiger Woods. The mystique surrounding his return is the reason that CBS President Sean McManus dubbed the tournament as the biggest event for the media in the past decade other than the Obama inauguration.

I am not surprised that Billy Payne is disappointed in Tiger. I am a little shocked that he decided to criticize the single reason why his tournament is about to experience an unparalleled level of interest to the general public.

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