The solid play of 14-year-old phenom Tianlang Guan has been one of the feel-good stories of the 2013 Masters thus far, but a one-stroke penalty for slow play has become the story of Guan's second day at The Masters.
UPDATE: Friday, April 12th, at 7:49 p.m. ET by Kyle Vassalo
The one-stroke penalty didn't cause Guan's Masters journey to end on Day 2. At +4, he's survived the cut:
14-year-old Tianlang Guan (+4) makes the cut at the #Masters. He is the youngest to make the cut at a major in the modern era— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) April 12, 2013
---End of Update---
Will Brinson of CBS Sports indicates that the Chinese prodigy received a one-stroke penalty for slow play and now sits at four-over par for the tournament:
Tianlang Guan was given a 1-stroke penalty for slow play!— Will Brinson (@WillBrinson) April 12, 2013
Guan had actually parred the par-four 17th, but he was penalized and forced to take a bogey due to his slow play. Had that call not been made, Guan may have been well clear of the cut line. The projected cut is currently set at four-over par, though, so the youngster will have to sweat out the remainder of the round.
After an impressive score of one-over par in the opening round on Thursday, Guan had a tough act to follow. He played composed golf for much of the day, however, and was three-over par for the day, although many would probably argue that he should actually be three-over par for the tournament.
According to Jason Sobel of the Golf Channel, a PGA Tour pro texted him and expressed his dismay over the manner in which Guan’s slow play was addressed:
Just received this text from PGA Tour pro: "I don't think I've ever seen a more ridiculous time to start enforcing a rule." Amen, brother.— Jason Sobel (@JasonSobelGC) April 12, 2013
Even though PGA Tour officials technically handled things by the book, the pro appears to have a point. According to PGATour.com, Guan’s one-stroke slow-play penalty is the first at a major since Gregory Bourdy received one at the 2010 PGA Championship.
Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports caught up with Guan's father, Hanwen, and asked to hear his thoughts regarding the penalty. His response was certainly diplomatic, but it's clear that he doesn't necessarily agree with the decision:
Guan's father, Hanwen, to Yahoo Sports: "A rule is a rule. But I don’t want to talk too much about it.”— Dan Wetzel (@DanWetzel) April 12, 2013
Rules may be rules, but it definitely seems like the officials chose a strange time to crack down. Guan is already under an immense amount of pressure as a 14-year-old playing against men, so it’s tough to blame him for taking extra time in order to compose himself.
Guan happened to be in a group with two-time Masters champion Ben Crenshaw, who knows a thing or two about the rules of golf. According to Sam Weinman of Golf Digest, Crenshaw apologized to Guan for the way things went down. Although the entire group was technically responsible for the infraction, Crenshaw seemed to take it particularly hard:
Ben Crenshaw on slow play penalty to playing partner Guan: "This isn't going to wind up pretty. I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry this happened."— Sam Weinman (@samweinman) April 12, 2013
More from an indignant Crenshaw: "I'm sick. He's 14 years old."— Sam Weinman (@samweinman) April 12, 2013
To Guan’s credit, he didn’t fold after the penalty. He could have easily imploded on the par-four 18th hole in the face of adversity, but he finished strong with a par and may very well succeed in making the cut despite the controversial penalty.
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