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« Who Wants To Re-grass Harding Park's Greens!? | Main | 14 And Headed Down Magnolia Lane: "The latest example of what might happen should China embrace golf other than superficially." »
Sunday
Nov042012

"Is Augusta National doing the right thing having events that qualify 14 year olds into the event?"

That's the question Steve Elkington posed on Twitter and after reading your many observations on the original post about Tianlang Guan's stunning Asia Pacific Amateur win, I think it's a question worth pondering.

And not to take away from Guan's stellar play or that of the kids (Zhang, Hossler) who contended at this year's U.S. Open, but maybe the broader questions should be: what is allowing people to play the game so much better at a younger age and is that a good thing?

Either way, Guan is setting lofty goals for himself!

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Reader Comments (26)

So do I...! (want to win Masters that is)

Posted this a few minutes ago in the other thread:

So this Asian Amateur Championship, how strong (or weak) is the field? What's required to enter?

What with a Masters spot going to a 14 year old I can envision a scenario where wealthy parents from other parts of the world send their kid over to take a shot. Does anyone think this kid could have won the US Amateur with the game he has right now? Not saying he couldn't, just curious as I have no idea how good he really is (or isn't).
11.4.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
The "US Masters" ?!?!?!? - Sheesh, he'd better watch it. He hasn't been officially invited yet and he is already dissing the event - distinguishing it from what? The JB Were Australian Masters?
11.4.2012 | Unregistered CommenterHard by the Sea
The 13-year old version of Michelle Wie would have been a favorite to win against a field like this (I know, she's American and thus ineligible for this Asia Pacific Amateur).

Come to think of it, it would not be a stretch to see Lydia Ko win this thing, and she would be eligible to play as a New Zealander.

She dusted a major-caliber LPGA field at at event that was considered an LPGA major up until 10 years ago.

Is there a women's bathroom up near the Crow's Nest? Get ready.
11.4.2012 | Unregistered Commentersgolfer
Humble young fellow isn't he!
11.4.2012 | Unregistered CommenterTrysil
Being noted as ''the best putter'' and using the bad thing to putt with.....it would seem that one way these young uns are getting so good is the rock roller.

It would seem that the forgiving drivers of 2012 are another facet of their game.
11.4.2012 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
Are you guys serious? The little guy earned his spot at the asian amateur championship. He won. Now he earned his spot at the masters.
Like everyone playing in augusta he dreams about winning the major. So whats wrong with that?
11.5.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDenis
Isn't the Masters getting exactly what it wants? More international exposure. This kid's story moves the Masters off the sports page and on to the front page world wide.

There have always been golf phenoms at an early age, Jones , Nicklaus, Woods.....Young Tom Morris.
Ultimately, it's down to parents to decide what's best for their children. In any event, there's no denying some kids mature sooner than others and, if they're good enough ...

I suppose Augusta could have slapped on an age limit but then, I don't imagine they saw this coming. As far I'm aware, I don't think they have a crystal ball either! The game has moved on very swiftly in that part of the world with seemingly different cultural attitudes in the way they raise their children. Although, having said that perhaps not so different as I am now seeing even in the UK juniors competing at senior level and winning.
Oliver Goss is 18 years old, a quarter finalist at this years US Amateur, a winner two weeks ago of the West Australian Open, and quite obviously a player of huge potential. If he qualified for the US Masters, everybody would be saying 'What an achievement, and good luck to him at Augusta next April".

Oliver Goss couldn't keep pace with Guan Tianlang last weekend.
11.5.2012 | Unregistered CommenterFester
well said Fester.
I think we should be excited by a 14 yr old qualifying for the Masters-not trying to decry his acheivement.I think its brilliant.
He's not taking anybody else's spot in the event-this is a new exemption.
Also-cut him a little bit of slack-he is a 14 yr old that has just won a huge event with a great score-so what if he says he wants to win the US Masters-he was bound to be a bit excited,surely?!
If there's another Asian in the field, more people in China watch. That means the fine folks can go to their international broadcasting partners and demand more money. This is all about money and it always will be.
11.5.2012 | Unregistered CommenterJeff Smith
Ageism is just as crass as sexism or racism, Shame on Elk. Good thing it's hunting season. What does Sandy Lyle think? #WTFC.
11.5.2012 | Unregistered CommenterAdam Clayman
Hideki Matsuyama won the first two editions of the Asia Pacific Amateur and then made the cut twice at the Masters finishing as low am in 2011. He was also beaten by Guan this time. Its definitely not an elite field, but there were some pretty good golfers in it.
11.5.2012 | Unregistered Commenterwishful thinking
Why not. What Augusta should do but wont do to insure a stronger field is putting a time limit on the lifetime exemption for past winners.
11.5.2012 | Unregistered CommenterPete Poulin
Congratulations to the young man! You can beat only those you play against, and you still have to do it. Had to be a weak field though. Australians, et al. limited in number? Only Asians, Australians et al. allowed in? Which other qualifier for the Masters has a geographically limited field? Also, too. Tiger told Curtis he was there to win. OK, not the same, but what is he supposed to say? "I can't wait for the pound cake, peach cobbler, and corn whiskey, after my drive through the magnolias. Is the Hooters still across the street?"

Masters field is plenty strong enough, btw. And past champions should be welcome as long as they can take the embarrassment of the first hole being a 3-shotter.
11.5.2012 | Unregistered CommenterKLG
Steve Elkington gets crankier the more he's removed from a time when he could actually play.
11.5.2012 | Unregistered CommenterGarry Smits
I was always under the impression that low score was the factor....not age.
11.5.2012 | Unregistered CommenterStanley Thompson
Calm down, Guan. Congrats and we'll be happy to see you play. But you haven't even walked on turf that undulating never mind playing on it.
11.5.2012 | Unregistered CommenterD. maculata
If you want to worry about young people being pushed into a high-pressure competition at too young an age, you need to start with women's gymnastics.

The age has been raised in recent years, but a 15-year-old girl can still compete in the Olympics. (She has to be turning 16 during the year of Olympics)

That means they are training HARD when they are as young as 11. Worse, they carry the expectations of a nation on their shoulders.

Playing a little invitational tournament in Augusta next spring is a piece of cake compared to that.

The juniors who aren't doing these kinds of things are being toured in AJGA events in hopes of getting a college scholarship. It's one thing or another.

K
11.5.2012 | Unregistered Commenterkenoneputt
Bobby Jones played in US Open at what age?
11.5.2012 | Unregistered CommenterBlue Canyon
Jones was 18 when he qualified in 1920. Andy Zhang was 14, setting the record for youngest to play in the U.S. Open when he played this year at Oakland Hills.
11.5.2012 | Unregistered CommenterGolden Bell
@Golden Bell - You mean Olympic Club, not Oakland Hills.
11.5.2012 | Unregistered CommenterAbu Dhabi Golfer
Bobby Jones played in the US Amateur at Merion at the age of 14 in 1916 reaching QFs.

He also won Georgia State Amateur and the Cherokee Invitational in Knoxville Tennessee in 1916, at the age of 14.

He finished second in 1919 US Amateur at age 17 after WWI.

Looks like Bobby Jones played in his first US Open in 1920, at age 18, and finished T8.
11.5.2012 | Unregistered Commenterjstiles
To further put Guan's performance in perspective, he not only defeated Oliver Goss (winner of an Australian PGA event two weeks ago), but also the twice defending champion Hideki Matsuyama, who is ranked #246 in OWGR (and comfortably made the cut at Augusta last year).
11.5.2012 | Unregistered Commenterhh morant
Tim Finchem and his cronies over at the plantation can't extend an Invitation to the previous years Web.com year end leading money winner, but instead we see this horse shite!?
I think the question will be more around the anchored putting aspect of golf and a teenager's success

Age alone is not the deal except if you are the older pro who gets left out, but that's golf/life.
11.6.2012 | Unregistered Commentersmiledoc

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