History was made at Augusta today, as 14-year old Chinese golfing phenomenon Tianlang Guan finished 4-over par in his second round at The Masters meaning he made the cut to continue play into the weekend. Never before has a golfer as young as Guan ever played in the Masters before, let alone made this deep of a run into it.
Guan’s historic day wasn’t without it’s bumps and turns, as he was penalized for slow play on the 17th green earlier in the day. After hitting a nice uphill shot, Guan was approached by John Paramor, a rules official from the European Tour. Paramor and Guan were then seen having what can only be described as an animated conversation, and as we now know, this was Paramor telling the golfing phenom that he was being assessed a one-stroke penalty for slow play.
The reason this was so massive, was it came on the 17th green and came on a hole that Guan was looking to birdie and thus stay alive to play through the weekend. Guan said that the windy conditions at Augusta slowed his playing style and that’s the reason he was assessed the penalty. Guan still didn’t make a big deal about it beyond talking to Paramor, and even told ESPN that if he hadn’t have made the cut, he’d still would have been proud.
“I respect the decision,” Guan told ESPN, via USA Today. “If I can make (the cut) I would be really happy for it, but if I didn’t make it, it’s still a great week.”
But even with the one-stroke penalty assessed to his scorecard, Guan finished 4-over and will indeed be playing for a Green Jacket this weekend. The penalty he was assessed is still being talked about as though it caused Guan to miss the cut, but there’s a reason for that. Many are calling into question Paramor drawing a line in the sand when he did with Guan, but the official defended his decision by saying the 14-year old had been warned on the 10th hole about slow play and was told at the 12th tee that each of his following shots would be clocked.
Lee Westwood defended Guan, saying that he didn’t see Guan playing “noticeably slow” and deferred that at the end of the day Guan is a 14-year old still learning the game.
“I watched him on TV (Thursday), he didn’t look to be noticeably slow,” Lee Westwood said. “And he’s a youngster just learning the game and it’s his first professional tournament, it seems a little bit harsh to me, yeah. He probably learned to play slowly after watching us professional golfers on TV, so why should we be surprised?”