AUGUSTA, Ga. – Just when Tiger Woods thought the conversation had moved to golf, Augusta National dragged it back to his character failings.
In an extraordinary public admonishment, the club's chairman, Billy Payne, called out Woods Wednesday for not just his sins of the flesh but his stand-offish behavior on the golf course.
He was speaking, officially, on behalf of Augusta National, whose rich and powerful members include the captains of industry, but the case could be made that his words represented the feelings in boardrooms across America.
"He forgot in the process (of becoming the world's best golfer) that with fame and fortune comes responsibility, not invisibility," Payne said.
"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.
"Our hero did not live up to the expectations of the role model we saw for our children.
"Certainly, his future will never again be measured only by his performance against par, but measured by the sincerity of his efforts to change.
"I hope he now realizes that every kid he passes on the course wants his swing, but would settle for his smile.
"I hope he can come to understand that life's greatest rewards are reserved for thos who bring joy to the lives of other people.
"We at Augusta hope and pray that our great champion will begin his new life here tomorrow in a positive, hopeful and constructive manner, but this time, with a significant difference from the past. This year, it will not be just for him, but for all of us who believe in second chances."