Change is the price of survival, and the change instilled at Augusta National Golf Club today through Billy Payne’s direction no doubt helped enhance The Masters on a global scale. His legacy as Chairman will be felt by the players, members and patrons for generations to come. Looking back, his time as Chairman seems short, but perhaps this is because his leadership was so effective.
The improvements to the course and its facilities to forming the Drive, Chip and Putt for young players to his attention to detail in every matter, Billy’s 11-year tenure as Chairman will be a tough act to follow. Perhaps his greatest contribution to ANGC is the admittance of the club’s first female members, which I was very much in favor of. Speaking to Billy about this matter, he was genuine about inviting Condoleezza Rice and Darla Moore, which has only helped ANGC progress as a leader in the golf world.
Retirement is a death warrant and I know Billy is not one to simply disappear. His sage counsel and guidance should be welcomed by the newly elected Chairman, Fred Ridley, as well as all those associated with one of the golfing world’s greatest and most prestigious clubs. I take this opportunity to wish Fred everything of the best during his tenure.
Golf Digest’s Jaime Diaz hit the nail on the head when he wrote, “By shrewdly blending its increased revenues with a broader, more culturally current vision, Payne pushed the previously often hidebound club and its tournament into the 21st century with a vitality that in retrospect is stunning.”
My very best to Billy and his family. We love you and wish you the best in your next adventure.