Tianlang Guan will soon make history as the youngest golfer ever to play in the Masters. On Monday afternoon, the 14-year-old kicked off the remarkable journey by playing the back nine at Augusta National with his idol and new world number 1, Tiger Woods, and Dustin Johnson.
According to Golf.com, Guan asked Wood on the range if he could join his group:
“The kid is good,” Woods said. “He’s not even in high school yet and now he’s playing in the Masters. It’s a remarkable story…. I tell you what, he hits it good. I showed him some of the shots I play and the straj behind some of the stuff.” (“Straj” is Tiger-speak for “strategy.)
Still only in 8th grade, all eyes will be on Guan who qualified for the 77th Masters by winning the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship last November.
Aside from Woods, Guan has a packed itinerary leading up to Thursday with another practice round on Tuesday, this time with Tom Watson, and a Par-3 Contest pairing with partner, Nick Faldo.
Though all of China will be rooting for Guan, the chances of him making the cut will be slim. According to Golf.com:
Guan didn’t hit a single green in regulation from the 10th to the 13th in that practice round. He also failed to keep his approaches on the green at the 10th and 11th, found sand at the 12th, and laid up on the 13th then flew the green. Guan was so far behind Woods and Johnson off the tee that he could have done with hailing a cab to catch up with them. It’s hardly surprising. He’s built like a bamboo shoot and only drives the ball about 250 yards. All of which means he hit a fairway wood from 220 yards into the 11th and attacked the first green from 190 yards with a hybrid. There will be learning and growing process before Guan can entertain thoughts of winning the Masters, an ambition he shared on Twitter after qualifying.
Regardless how he performs this weekend, Guan has already accomplished more at his young age than most will in their entire lives. Let’s just hope he doesn’t pull a Michelle Wei…