Tianlang Guan, the 14-year-old amateur from China, received a one-shot penalty for slow play on the 17th hole during the second round of The Masters.
Guan took a bogey on the hole instead of a par. He somehow kept his composure and managed to par the difficult 18th and post a three-over 75, four-over 36-hole total. For now, Guan is inside the cut line (because he’s within ten shots of the leader), but it won’t be pretty if he misses by, say, one.
Now, it’s an interesting choice to penalize the 14-year-old amateur when pros are just as slow. Besides, he’s a kid! I know, I know, he was warned three times, but notice how the players are absolutely crawling like snails out there.
And how about the pace of play week-in and week-out on the PGA Tour? It’s a joke. Officials allow the pros, who are setting an example for junior golfers, to take their sweet time, so they don’t know any better.
Judging by the outrage on Twitter, this story is overshadowing any actual golf — and people are not happy. It’s not just fans, or excuse me, patrons.
Two-time Masters champ Ben Crenshaw, who played alongside Guan the first two rounds, was unhappy, to say the least, according to The Augusta Chronicle:
“I think our group was warned once that we were out of position,” Crenshaw said. “This isn’t going to end up pretty, I don’t think. I’m sick.
“He’s 14 years old. When you get the wind blowing out here, believe me you’re going to change your mind. I’m sorry, I’m a player. It’s not easy to get around this golf course.”
The group of Guan, Crenshaw and Matteo Manassero was put on the clock on the 12th hole.
Crenshaw and Manassero are seasoned pros, obviously, and they’ve learned a “second routine,” so to speak. If pros are put on the clock or warned, they will speed up when being watched.
Point being, Guan isn’t the only player who was playing slow, he was just the only player assessed a penalty because he can’t fight back and he hasn’t learned how to game the system.
Last player to receive a penalty stroke for slow play on the PGA Tour? Glen Day at the 1995 Honda Classic. Yep, before Guan was even born. Last player to receive a stroke in a major? Gregory Bourdy at the 2010 PGA Championship.
It’s a shame if Guan ends up missing the cut, but the conditions and setup at Augusta are incredibly difficult, so tournament officials may luck out and not look like they robbed the kid out of playing two more rounds.
As Jason McIntyre of The Big Lead tweeted, “Pretty rich for anyone at Augusta National to get a penalty for not moving fast enough.”