Guan Tianlang, a 14-year-old from China, will be the youngest golfer to ever compete in the Masters, which starts Thursday. His practice-round companions this week include Tiger Woods, Tom Watson and Ben Crenshaw.
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 top-ranked Tiger Woods. He has a game lined up Tuesday with Tom Watson, an eight-time major champion. On Wednesday, he plans to play the Par 3 Contest with Nick Faldo, winner of six majors.
Can’t Guan play with someone his own age?
Not at this Masters, which starts Thursday.
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Guan, a 14-year-old from China, will be the youngest to ever compete in the Masters and the youngest player at any major tournament 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 courses in the world.
Nerves? So far, only big smiles.
“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 seldom did.
Guan is the only player in the field who brought his eighth-grade homework with him to Augusta National.
“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. It’s remarkable that he’s even playing.”
Guan, 5 feet 9 and 143 pounds, will get a severe test on the 7,435-yard layout.
“I would say I’m not long enough, but I think I’m still all right in this golf course,” Guan said.