14 things you should know about 14-year-old Guan Tianlang
By PGATOUR.COM staff
Thanks to his wire-to-wire win at last November's Aisa-Pacific Amateur Championship, Guan Tianlang earned an invite to Augusta National. At 14 years old, he will become the youngest player to compete in the Masters.
Since you probably don't know much about Guan other than he's making history, here are 14 things to know about the eighth grader (eighth grader!) from China.
1. According to PGA TOUR researchers, he will be the fourth youngest player ever to compete in a PGA TOUR event. Guan will be 14 years, 5 months and 17 days when he begins the Masters. That puts him behind:
> Don Dunkelberger, who was 11 years, 11 months, 10 days old at the 1937 Chicago Open. Dunkelberger shot 103 in the opening round and then withdrew.
> Michelle Wie, who was 14 years, 2 months, 29 days old when she played the 2004 Sony Open in Hawaii. Wie shot 72-68 and missed the cut.
> Marshall Springer, who was 14 years, 5 months, 11 days old when he joined Dunkelberger at the 1937 Chicago Open. Springer missed the cut.
2. Guan will be the youngest competitor ever at a major golf event. Andy Zhang was the previous youngest (14 years, 6 months) when he teed off at last year's U.S. Open.
The previous youngest player to participate in the Masters was Italy's Matteo Manassero, who was 16 years old when he played in the 2010 Masters.
3. Last June, Guan started using a belly putter. Need we remind you that three of the last five major winners have used a long putter?
4. Guan has already played with Tiger Woods. It happened at the 2010 HSBC Champions during a pro-am at Sheshan International in Shanghai. Guan was in a group of juniors who played the 17th hole with Woods.
Guan also met Woods a year later at a Nike golf clinic in Asia, and calls Tiger his favorite player.
"I think he has a strong mind and a strong heart, so I think that's why he's so great," Guan told the Associated Press.
5. Guan's distance off the tee is about 250 yards. That doesn't bode well for lengthy Augusta National.
But as Trevor Immelman told the Global Golf Post: “I played with Gary Player there once when he was 72 years old and we calculated that he couldn't reach 11 of the par 4s, And he still shot 78 that day. I'm not worried about how this kid does."
6. Guan started playing golf at age 4.
7. He spends three months a year in California for training. He lives with relatives in Los Angeles and San Diego.
8. A year ago, he played in the Volvo China Open, making him the youngest competitor in a European Tour-sanctioned event. He was 13 years, 173 days old. He missed the cut but called it a "great experience." He added: "I think it's going to help me at the Masters."
9. The tournament that Guan won to get his Masters invite was created by Augusta National and the Royal & Ancient Golf Club to help inspire growth of the game in Asia. Guan won the fourth edition of the tournament.
10. In addition to the Masters invite, Guan received a spot in the final stage of qualifying for the British Open. The qualifer was held in early March in Asia but Guan failed to advance, finishing 16 shots behind the winner.
11. Guan said he has watched the Masters every year since 2005, the last time Woods has won the event.
12. Before winning the Asia-Pacific Championship, Guan was ranked 490th in the world among amateur golfers. At last check, he was ranked 163rd.
13. During the Faldo Series Asia Grand Final in China in March, Guan and three-time Masters winner Nick Faldo agreed to play the Par-3 Contest held on Wednesday of Masters week.
"It's a date," Faldo said as he shook hands to congratulate Guan on his Asia-Pacific win. "I'm going to start training immediately. This is my fifth major."
14. In August, Guan was part of a Chinese youth team that beat the United States in a mixed Ryder Cup-style event at CordeValle in San Martin, Calif. The U.S. led by three points after the first day of four-ball and foursome matches, but China won six of the eight points in singles play on the final day (sound familiar?).
Guan halved his singles match with Sebastian Crampton.