AUGUSTA, Ga. -- It was like being called into the principal's office after corporal punishment was banned.
Tiger Woods was tongue-lashed instead.
At a time when critics have lined up to savage Woods with blunt-force trauma, Augusta National chairman Billy Payne on Wednesday gave Woods perhaps the sternest lecture to date about how he let down all of golf with his reckless actions over the past few years.
It was akin to being beaten to death with a rubber hose. Where others used meat cleavers, Payne produced a stiletto blade at his annual meeting with reporters and carved off small pieces of the world No. 1 and four-time Masters champion.
It was as unprecedented as it was unbelievable -- Payne, a man charged with running one of the most powerful organizations in golf and the former chief of the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games, dressed Woods down in articulate and unmistakable fashion, but without raising his voice or pounding a fist on the table.
The message was emphatic nonetheless. It left some in the room, even a few jaded scribes who had completely blowtorched Woods for the past five months, with a lump in their throats.
Taking a detour from his presentation about the club's various improvements and electronic media endeavors, Payne launched into a scripted and passionate discourse on the responsibilities that come with stardom. For those who thought Augusta National's membership was full of stuffed shirts and corporate types without a moral conscience, you should have been in the room when Payne started talking.
Trust me when I tell you that some in the room wanted to stand up and yell, Amen. And we weren't talking about that famous stretch of holes down in the corner of the course.
"Finally, we are not unaware of the significance of this week to a very special player, Tiger Woods. A man who in a brief 13 years clearly and emphatically proclaimed and proved his game to be worthy of the likes of Bobby Jones, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer. As he ascended in our rankings of the world's great golfers, he became an example to our kids that success is directly attributable to hard work and effort.
"But as he now says himself, he forgot in the process to remember that with fame and fortune comes responsibility, not invisibility. 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.
"Is there a way forward? I hope yes. I think yes. But 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 those 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."