Masters chairman hopes video game helps golf grow


Augusta National Chairman Billy Payne held the traditional Masters Wednesday news conference. (April 6, 2011 / WRDW-TV)

News 12 First at 5 / Wednesday, April 6, 2011

AUGUSTA---Other than the Par 3 Tournament, there's another tradition that happens every Masters Wednesday. This is the day Augusta National's chairman talks about the state of the Masters. This year, Chairman Billy Payne had a lot to say about reaching out to a younger generation of golfers.

Morgan Nix and his brother Dalton came all the way from Alabama to walk the grounds of Augusta National. But Morgan has seen it all before, by playing the new Masters video game.

"It's fun," Morgan said. "It's very difficult. I've played a few of my buddies and have been beaten very bad every single time."

Don't worry, Morgan--you're in very good company.

Chairman Payne played the game with his grandson.

"Let's see," he said, "I quit after nine holes. I told him my back was hurting. He was up 7 in our match play." A reporter asked how old Payne's grandson was. "Bo is 12," Payne said.

The game is just the latest way Augusta National is embracing technology to reach a new generation. Dalton Nix hasn't played the game yet, but he's all for it.

"It's nice to see the Augusta National finally on a video game," he said. "It's hard enough to get on the course, but now you can enjoy it in your own home."

For Chairman Payne, it's all about growing the game.

"Our involvement just may, we hope, inspire greater appreciation for golf and, in turn, encourage participation," he said.

The video game will generate a lot of money too, and Billy Payne says they'll donate all the profits to a new Masters Tournament Foundation to help grow the game of golf here in the US and around the world.

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