Former UGA football player Billy Payne was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame on Monday.
For many Bulldogs fans, the 71-year-old Payne is best known for UGA’s indoor football facility, which is dubbed the “House of Payne.” It was named after William Porter Payne (Billy) and his father, Porter Otis Payne, after more than $10 million in donations from friends and family.
At the naming ceremony for the indoor facility, CBS Sports broadcaster Jim Nantz served as the master of ceremonies, while luminaries such as golf legend Jack Nicklaus and UGA coach Kirby Smart were in attendance.
Payne’s father was an All-SEC offensive lineman at UGA who also was team captain for the 1949 squad. Billy later followed his father’s footsteps to the Bulldogs and was a three-year starter under coach Vince Dooley. The father-son football connection at Georgia was captured in a couple of iconic photos.
Back to Payne: Outside of UGA football, Payne is world-famous for leading Atlanta’s bid to be the host city for the 1996 Olympics. How didhe follow that up? By serving as chairman of Augusta National Golf Club, home of the Masters Tournament, from 2006 to 2017. Here’s a quick review of his chairmanship, which of course earned Payne his spot in the Hall of Fame.
“Augusta National, to be truthful, it’s an institution that shines virtually at all times,” Payne told The Augusta Chronicle in a rare interview last week. “I guess some of that shine reflected on me a little bit. For that, I’m grateful.”