Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

14 years old and at ease at Augusta

Guan Tianlang of China, at 14, is the youngest person ever to compete in the Masters.

Guan Tianlang of China, at 14, is the youngest person ever to compete in the Masters.

AUGUSTA, Ga. — Guan Tianlang is in good company this week at Augusta National.

He played a practice round Monday with two-time Masters champion Ben Crenshaw then headed out in the afternoon with Tiger Woods. He has a game lined up today with Tom Watson, an eight-time major champion. Wednesday, he plans to play the Par 3 Tournament with Nick Faldo, winner of six majors.

Can't he play with someone his own age?

Not at this Masters.

Guan, of China, is 14, the youngest to ever play in the Masters and the youngest player at any major in 148 years. He qualified by winning the Asia Pacific Amateur Championship last fall in Thailand, and now he gets a crack at the best in the game, on one of the most famous golf courses in the world.

Nerves? So far, only a smile.

"I'm really excited in the morning when I come out on the course and there's many people here," Guan said Monday, conducting his news conference in English with a Chinese translator at his side in case he needed help. He rarely did.

The kid has shown to be special in many ways.

He went wire-to-wire in the Asia Pacific amateur, and he wasn't rattled on the final hole at Amata Spring Country Club. With a belly putter he had been using for about six months, he calmly rapped in a 5-foot par putt for the one-shot win and a drive down Magnolia Lane — in the passenger seat, of course.

Age seems to have no limits these days in golf.

Tiger Woods was 21 when he set 20 records to win the 1997 Masters. Sergio Garcia was 19 when he nearly beat Woods in the PGA Championship two years later. Morgan Pressel was 18 when she won a major championship on the LPGA Tour. Lydia Ko was 15 when she won the Women's Canadian Open last year on the LPGA Tour.

Even so, this is the Masters. And Guan is the only player in the field who brought his eighth-grade homework with him.

"I knew he was young," Steve Stricker said. "I didn't know he was the same age as my daughter. Yeah, that's remarkable. And I've been telling my daughter the same with this Lydia Ko, who has been playing on the LPGA Tour. I just can't imagine being that young and competing at this level at such an early age. It will be interesting. I'll be interested to see how he does and how he handles it and how he plays."

The only player younger than Guan in a major championship was Young Tom Morris, who was about a month younger in the 1865 British Open.

Guan played in the Australian Open in December and opened with 82 at The Lakes in Sydney. He shot 70 the next day, though the first-round score was enough to imagine what kind of number waits on the 7,445-yard course at Augusta National.

"I would say I'm not long enough, but I think I'm still all right in this golf course," Guan said. "And I drive a little bit longer in Thailand than here, but I think I'm still all right, not a really serious problem."

.FAST FACTS

77th Masters

When/where: Thursday-Sunday; Augusta, Ga.

Course: Augusta National Golf Club

Defending champion: Bubba Watson

Television: 3-7:30 p.m. Thursday-Friday, ESPN; 3-7 Saturday, 2-7 Sunday, Ch. 10

Online: masters.com

14 years old and at ease at Augusta 04/08/13 [Last modified: Monday, April 8, 2013 9:13pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Tuesday's Rays-Cubs game

    The Heater

    Chris Archer's night ended with his 11th loss, but he and the Rays should feel good about his six solid innings. After the forearm tightness scare in Chicago, he had two rough outings, allowing 15 hits and 11 runs while lasting just seven innings total.

  2. At 6-8, Lightning prospect Oleg Sosunov comes with, and needs, a high ceiling

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — When Hall of Famer Phil Esposito first saw Lightning prospect Oleg Sosunov, he joked that the 6-foot-8 defenseman could reach the Amalie Arena ceiling.

    The Lightning’s Anthony Cirelli gets checked by the Hurricanes’ Trevor Carrick during the first period of the preseason opener at Amalie Arena. The teams meet again tonight in Raleigh, N.C.
  3. Jones: Rays' Kevin Cash doesn't mind following in Joe Maddon's steps

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — On this particular night, he's the other guy. He's like a talk-show guest scooted to the end of the couch. He is Kevin Cash. And the Rays manager is standing in the home dugout at Tropicana Field.

    ST. PETERSBURG, FL - SEPTEMBER 17: Manager Kevin Cash (L) of the Tampa Bay Rays reacts to action during the game against the Boston Red Sox at Tropicana Field on September 17, 2017 in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Joseph Garnett Jr./Getty Images) 700012494
  4. Rays journal: Rays manage one hit in loss to Cubs

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Joe Maddon returned to Tropicana Field on Tuesday, and so did a legion of Cubs fans who waited nearly an entire season for the World Series champions to make their first trip in nine years to the bay area.

    Rays starter Chris Archer awaits a new ball after Kyle Schwarber homers in the second, putting the Cubs up 1-0.
  5. Rays video tribute to ex-manager Joe Maddon upon return with Cubs

    Blogs

    Here is the Rays video tribute to former manager Joe Maddon, who returned to the Trop for the first time on Tuesday with his Cubs team: