Teenage phenom Guan Tianlang impresses at the Masters
Amid all the excitement surrounding this year’s Masters, there is the incredible story of 14-year old phenom Guan Tianlang. Most 14-year old boys spend their time doing homework or playing video games, but Tianlang has chosen to spend his time competing against the best golfers in the world, some over twice his age.
Tianlang grew up in Guangzhou, China but made it all the way to the United States to compete against the best. He traveled to the U.S. with both parents (who make snacks for him like any good parent should). He also brought his school textbooks so he can get a little extra work done while away from class.
Tianlang is the youngest player in history to make the Masters cut. Despite his speedy rise to success and the intense spotlight from the media, Tianlang remains humble as any average teenager.
“I made it,” Tianlang said. “I hope I can make more miracles, more dreams come true. I want to thank my parents and everyone who cared, supported and helped me.”
Tianlang seems to be enjoying the ride thus far and does not seem fazed by the excess attention and the fact that he is vastly inexperienced compared to his competition.
Despite his rise to success Tianlang does have a ways to go in terms of getting a feel for the game and how to play under the strict regulations of a tournament. He made headlines having been penalized for slow play. It was a questionable call to make considering that he is still young, but Tianlang handled the situation well.
“I respect the decision they make,” Tianlang said. “They should do it because it’s fair to everybody.”
Others were not as understanding. Brandt Snedeker, another golfer on the tour, said he was unhappy with the officials’ decision to penalize Tianlang because slow play is an issue for all players on the tour.
“I wish they would have made an example out of somebody else except for a 14-year-old kid, you know?” Snedeker said. “Make an example out of me or somebody else. But a kid just trying to make a cut in his first week of the Masters? I understand that slow play is a problem and it’s just a tough situation. I feel bad for the kid.”
When asked to comment on the Tiger Woods’ ball-drop fiasco, Tianlang also handled the situation with maturity far beyond someone of his age. Woods had set a precedent Friday by saying “rules are rules” when asked what he thought of Tianlang’s penalty for slow play, so when Tianlang was asked Saturday about Woods’ ball-drop, he responded in kind.
“I think rules are rules,” he said.
Guan Tianlang won’t win the Masters this year, but he has a lot of golf left ahead of him. Based on his performance at the Masters, it looks like he could be a household name for many years to come.