Masters Officials Reportedly Told Tianlang Guan to Quicken Pace on Saturday

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistApril 14, 2013

AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 13:  Tianlang Guan of China walks down the second fairway during the third round of the 2013 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 13, 2013 in Augusta, Georgia.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

During Saturday's third round at Augusta National, Tianlang Guan was reportedly told by Masters officials that he need to pick up the pace during his third-round play. cited an Associated Press report that the officials had been following Guan while he was on the course and informed him on at least two occasions that he needed to play faster.

Guan had already found himself at the center of controversy on Friday, when officials decided to dock him a stroke after it was determined his pace of play was too slow. That stroke looked like it might keep him out of weekend play, which led many to criticize tournament officials for choosing to enforce the penalty.

In the end, the penalty didn't matter at all. At 14 years old, Guan managed to become the youngest player ever to make the cut at Augusta.

The issue looks to be much ado about nothing. Guan's partner for the day, Thorbjorn Olesen, was far from critical of the time the teenager took to make his shots:

I didn't think he played slow. I think he played pretty quick, actually. He's 14, and there's a big crowd following him, so it's pretty difficult for him. I think he's handled it really, really good.

More than a few fans, though, have taken issue with the way the officials have handled Guan up to this point. This most recent news will do nothing to engender any more goodwill.

This also comes after officials chose not to disqualify Tiger Woods for taking an illegal drop during second-round play (h/t Steve DiMeglio of USA Today). There was the question of whether Woods should be punished for turning in an inaccurate scorecard. Instead, he was docked two strokes.

Some might wonder if the tournament is being too harsh on Guan—who, while an attraction, is still far from an established player—and yet extremely lenient on the game's biggest star in Woods.