AUGUSTA, Ga. — China’s Tianlang Guan, the youngest player ever to tee it up at the Masters, made the cut on the number Friday despite being assessed a one-stroke penalty at the 17th hole for slow play.
At 14, China’s Tianlang Guan is the youngest player ever to compete in the Masters. He hardly showed it, carding a 1-over 73 in his opening round. That bested the first-time scores of three legends who led off Thursday’s festivities at Augusta with the ceremonial tee shots. Here’s a look:
Debut Player Age Score
2013 Tianlang Guan 14 73
1955 Arnold Palmer 25 76
1959 Jack Nicklaus 19 76
1954 Gary Player 18 77
— ESPN Stats & Information
The 14-year-old eighth-grader shot 3-over 75 at Augusta National and is 4 over for the tournament. The cut line came at 4 over based on the 10-shot rule. Jason Day leads at 6-under overall.
At 14 years, 5 months of age, Guan is nearly two years younger than any other player in the modern era to make the cut in a major championship. The old record was held by Matteo Manassero, who was 16 years, 2 months when he made the 2009 Open Championship cut.
Guan made par-4 at No. 17 but had to put a 5 on his card.
John Paramor, a longtime and respected European Tour rules official, was involved in the decision to penalize Guan. Paramor said he issued a warning on the 10th green, advised Guan on the 12th tee, and then again at Nos. 13 and 17 before issuing the penalty after Guan played No. 17.
“I feel like that in those situations, any time they happen, that’s my job,” Paramor said. “That is what I do.”
The Masters follows the Rules of Golf as written by the U.S. Golf Association and the Royal & Ancient. Like all tournament committees, the Masters can supplement those with local rules.
Fred Ridley, competition committees chairman at the Masters, issued a statement on Guan’s penalty later Friday.
“Guan was assessed a one-shot penalty for violation of Rule 6-7 of the Rules of Golf and the Tournament’s Pace of Play Policy,” Ridley said. “His group, which included Ben Crenshaw and Matteo Manassero, was deemed out of position on No. 10. Guan began being timed on Hole 12 and received his first warning on Hole 13 after his second shot. In keeping with the applicable rules, he was penalized following his 2nd shot on the 17th hole when he again exceeded the 40 second time limit by a considerable margin.”
Guan told ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi that because of Friday’s weather, he had to change his mind on which club to hit on a particular shot and that he was aware he was taking time when doing so. Guan said he respected Paramor’s decision to assess a penalty.
“I think I just changed my routine before the Masters, and the routine is good, but I think today is pretty hard because if you’re timed only 40 seconds, it’s pretty hard because you need to make the decision,” Guan said. “The wind switched a lot, but that’s [the same] for everybody.”
Crenshaw felt badly for Guan.
Fourteen-year-old Tianlang Guan said he respected an official’s decision to penalize him for slow play.
“Well, the way I understand it, he was warned after he walked off the 16th. And he had obviously the most diabolical putt you could face, and he made a brilliant two-putt,” Crenshaw said after the round. “And, you know, I’m going to say this: Anybody would take time in order to get up and hit that putt.
“And this isn’t going to end up pretty, I don’t think. I’m sick. I’m sick for him. He’s 14 years old, we’re playing when you get the wind blowing out here, believe me, you’re going to change your mind a lot. I’m sorry. I’m a player, but it is not easy to get around this golf course the way it’s set up for [these] two days.
“We’re playing threesomes. We used to play twosomes on the first two days. So everybody is taking their time. It’s difficult.
“I am so sorry. I’m so sorry this has happened. It’s not going to be pretty.”
Manassero, who was keeping Guan’s card in the group, was told by officials to write down a 5, even though Guan had scored a 4 on the hole
“I think it’s the biggest thing he needs to be careful about, because I think he’s ready. When the caddie pulls the club for him, I think he’s ready,” Manassero said. “But he just sometimes … takes a little too long, he just asks questions [of his caddie] that I think he knows [the answers to], as well, but just to be sure, just to be clear in his mind.
“And so I think that’s an important thing, and John Paramor was saying that, as well. We all feel sorry, but this is the way professional golf goes.”
Guan, the youngest player at any major in 148 years, wasn’t even born the last time a penalty was issued for slow play, against Glen Day at the 1995 Honda Classic.