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« PGA Tour Players Celebrate President Obama's Re-election Via Series Of Forward-Looking, Positive Tweets | Main | Adam Scott Rebuts Tiger's Putter Length Theory »
Tuesday
Nov062012

Will Guan Make Condi A Masters Sidebar?

Jason Sobel makes the fine point that "next year’s Masters will skip evolution and go straight to revolution." Actually, the entire thing figures to be one epic circus."

It’s safe to say Clifford Roberts didn’t have any of this in mind decades ago. He never envisioned a champion named Bubba who owns the Dukes of Hazzard car, never foresaw women being members of the club, never anticipated a 14-year-old competing in his world-class invitational.

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Reader Comments (16)

Anyone think the kid can break 80?

Personally I suspect Condi won't make an appearance on site at the 2013 Masters, she shuns that sort of limelight. Blondie, that's a different story!
11.6.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
He will get stronger, but he is a short hitter at the moment....make for a tough track.
11.6.2012 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
The Masters hosts former winners into their dotage. They do not impede the real Tournament. Presumably its long history of also receiving (I hardly think the word "welcoming" is relevant to much they do at ANGC) amateurs can support age differentials.

One of these days a wrinklie, or an enfant terrible, is going to show the Tour up. And I doubt either Bobby or Clifford would turn in their graves.
11.6.2012 | Unregistered CommenterGhillie
Michaux is correct, the kid did win the event, and the event provides a Masters invite to the winner....but is the event a worthy conduit for such a prized invite? Since I know Michaux won't do any homework on the worthiness of the event, I did.

Up front...cannot believe the the Masters gives a spot to the champion of this event. Winning the Fla State Am has to be WAY harder.

A few snippets...

--> event is an "invitational".
--> all 36 "member" countries of the Asia Pacific Golf Confederation (APGC) get 2 spots each.
--> spots are awarded to players based on their World Amateur Golf Rank (WAGR).
--> if a country does not have any ranked players, they can pick 2 as long as their index is below 5.4 (I'm thinking about establishing citizenship in Nepal!).
--> a country can have up to 6 entrants as long as they have a WAGR.
--> 22 of the 36 countries could only produce 2 "qualified" players, Nepal only produced 1 player.
--> the 36 countries managed to scrape up 121 qualified players.
--> the "host country" (Thailand) is allowed to send 10 players.

Two countries of note, Australia, and Thailand....and the rankings of their players:

Australia....28, 41, 58, 94, 132, 206
Thailand....80, 145, 426, 428, 832, 850, 1055, 1092, 1289, N/R.

I'm assuming the bulk of the players from countries that only produced 2 entrants, did not have a WAGR...but I could be wrong.

More snippets...

--> only 11 of the top-100 amateurs in the world were in the event, 4 of them were Australian.
--> 23 players shot par or better.
--> the guy in 29th was 5-over.
--> scoring page only goes to 61st place, guy shot 22-over and only broke 78 once.
--> 5 of the 6 Aussies finished in the top-7.

Closing thoughts;

--> extremely weak field.
--> extremely shallow field.
--> effectively it's a 15 man (or child) shootout with a Masters invite hanging in the balance.
--> PR stunt. (was that too harsh?)
11.7.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
Hard to argue with that Del!Bit like the European team championships where half of the countries send players over scratch.
However the Masters is an invitation and they chose to give a spot to the winner.He played great to win so good luck to him.
This is obviously only about advertising revenue-but thats not the kids fault!
DTF,

That's quite a lot of effort you've gone to. But if you're going to cull every invitee who has zero chance of winning the tournament, you need to start a little higher up the chain.

Granting an exemption to the winner of the tournament in question may seem to be a little too generous at the moment, but in 10 years time?
Perhaps, just perhaps, the folk at Augusta have taken a longer term view of what they hope to achieve with this exemption than your short-sightedness will allow at this point in time.
11.7.2012 | Unregistered CommenterFester
i think format of event will change next year.

People forget that Masters has had Jack win it 6 times, and Herman Keiser once. Shingo Katayama showed up once in a goofy hat. the 14 yr old will be gone by the weekend and so will this story
11.7.2012 | Unregistered Commentersmails
@ DTF:
The Masters is an 'Invitational' as well.
The invite to the winner was setup by the Masters folks as part of their effort to grow the game in Asia.
It's their tournament and they can do anything they want.
I respect the research you did, but it all adds up to a hill of beans.
The future, in terms of golf and economics is not the USA and this invite will do way more for generating interest than some Fld. amateur or even the US. amateur who goes completely unnoticed in some years.
11.7.2012 | Unregistered CommenterPress Agent
Actually Fester, I did think about that. So what you are saying is that Masters officials are socially responsible and forward thinking to the point that their underlying motivations and ultimate goals would not be evident to simple minded people like myself? (but readily apparent to big brained folks like you) Hey, maybe....!! If that's true, please explain to me the rationale and long term goal these paragons of social change had in mind when they were excluding women for decades and decades? I'd probably figure it out in 8 or 10 years but since you likely already know maybe you could fill me in? Yup, I thought about it, but not for long....

PA, I know it's their tournament. I know they can do anything they want with it. I know it is an invitational. Like ol' Howard Cosell routinely did, you've mastered the obvious by pointing out these things. As for the conomic development of golf in the region, prove it. Next year if Nepal comes up with 2 players I guess you could say they were up 100% What's funny though is that if I could somehow establish citizenship in Nepal I could be that guy! I will agree that the whole exercise creates some publicity for the Master in a time of the,year they wouldn't otherwise get noticed...don't think it really helps anyone though.

What I do know is extending an invite to the winner of this event is surely an eye-brow raiser for winners of events like The Amateur Championship and the US Amateur.

Steven Fox had to contend with a field of 6,443....Asia-Pacific (AP) winner had to beat about 14 tops. AP winner had to contend with only one top-10 WAGR player (Matsuyama #9) and 6 of the top-50...100% of the WAGR top-50 are exempt into the US Amateur. I could go on....

Now a player like Matsuyama, he loves it. If he remains an amateur he's probably odds on to pickup 6 Masters invites in a 10 year span. Not bad work if you can get it....
11.7.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
DTF, that sure is a lot of work to devalue a feel-good accomplishment by a 14-year-old who (I'm only guessing) shot four consecutive scores in competition last week lower than anything you or I have posted this year. In my case, ever.
11.7.2012 | Unregistered CommenterFWIW
FWIW, there's no doubt that I have waaay too much time on my hands, and our weather here only exacerbating the situation. And it's even more certain that I will never post scores like Guan posted last week!

As for the "feel good"......do you feel less good about the situation now that you know the facts surrounding the Asia-Pacific Amateur? If so, don't blame that on me. All those numbers and statistics were sourced almost exclusively from the Asia-Pacific Amateur website. Just the facts ma'am...

I'm certain Guan doesn't feel any less good about his invite. Hey, entered, showed up, and shot the scores to win, I certainly have no problem with that. Good on him. But if I could get the right odds I'd make a bets that (i) he won't break 80, and (ii) he posts at least one score of 85 or higher at Augusta.

The Golf Channel and Golfweek serve up a lot of puffball feel-good stuff that's real short on facts if that's the kind of thing you are looking for...
11.7.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
DTF,

Stop digging, you'll end up going all the way through to China.
11.7.2012 | Unregistered CommenterFester
Fester, I need help....
11.7.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
OK, now do some research on the small field of non-PGA Tour qualifiers in Florida that Andy Zhang beat to get into the U.S. Open. Or some of those IFQ's to get in the British. There are weaker avenues into all sorts of big events. Or the Mid-Amateur. Doesn't diminish those accomplishments..
11.7.2012 | Unregistered CommenterFWIW
FWIW, surely ye jest. There is no easy avenue into any USGA event on the men's side. I will in fact look into Andy Zhang's route into the US Open -- I find that accomplishment MUCH more impressive than Guan's win. Heck, top to bottom the Charlotte City Amateur attracts a better field than the Asia-Pacific tourney.

And having recently caddied a friend into matchplay of the mid-am I can assure you that it's brutal as well. Which makes Nathan Smith's accomplishments even more stunning.
11.7.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
A few tidbits on Zhang playing his way into the US Open.

9,006 total entries. From this group 8,527 had to go to local qualifying at 109 sites. Max index to try is 1.4 vs. 5.4 to play in the Asia-Pacific Am.

Zhang's local site was Lake Wales, Fla. 73 players showed up with 5 spots on the line. Zhang shot 69 to finish T-3 and make it on the number, beating seasoned professionals like Len Mattiace and Steve LeBrun, and tying Patrick Sheehan.

Only 550 players (6.4%) advance from local qualifying to the sectional, and there they are joined by 476 players that were exempt into sectionals, the vast majority being professionals from various global tours. Sectionals were held at 11 sites in the US, as well as 1 in England and 1 in Japan.

Zhang's sectional was Black Diamond Ranch where 57 players were competing for 3 spots. Zhang again was T-3 with a 142 total (2-under). He lost the playoff for the 3rd spot and was 1st alternate, for which he was ultimately called. Again a field of mostly seasoned pro's (Derek Fathauer, Sam Saunders, Andres Echavarria, etc) and some solid amateurs (Blayne Barker!, TJ Vogel-Publinx Champ). This field alone would destroy the Asia-Pac Am field by any metric you want to choose.

The final US Open field was 156 and about 50% come out of the qualifiers. So let's call is 77 spots available from a pool of 8,930 all of which are either professionals or low handicap amateurs (1.4 max vs. 5.4 max for Asia-Pac Am). So the odds are 1-in-116 vs. 1-in-121 for the Asia-Pac Am....hypothetically speaking anyway. In reality the odds were 1-15 at the Asia-Pac because the other 100+ stood no chance. And then there's the fact that US Open qualy's also includes pro's, and lots of them, etc...

Zhang's achievement was much more meaningful that Guan's, IMO.
11.9.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDTF

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