The Masters 2013: Guan Tianlang continues golf's youth movement

Matt King

After winning last year's Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship, Guan Tianlang, 14, earned a spot in this week's Masters tournament. What can be expected from history's youngest Masters player?

Kids these days. I tell ya.

When he won last year's Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship in Thailand, 14-year old Guan Tianlang made headlines for being the youngest player to ever accomplish such a feat. Then golf fans everywhere realized that Tianlang just earned a spot in the 94-man 2013 Masters championship.

"[Playing in the 2013 Masters] would be amazing but, for now, I need to focus on my game this weekend," Tianlang said at the time. "To be leading the tournament is good for me and good for Chinese golf, especially as China will be hosting the event next year." Isn't he just the little trailblazer, eh?

Ready to feel really, really old? Tiger Woods won his first Masters title in 1997... when Tianlang wasn't even born yet.

"It's frightening to think that he was born after I won my first Masters," Woods said recently. "I mean, that's just frightening."

What's perhaps even more frightening is the fact that Tianlang is taking one of the most coveted tournament spots in all of sports (which he earned, mind you) and will have to answer the obvious question all week: should someone his age be allowed to compete in The Masters?

If you ask Tiger -- who was once a young superstar in his own right -- nothing could be better for golf.

"It's exciting that I have inspired kids to play and not just here in the States but obviously in China and around the world," Woods said. "The game has become global. There are more countries represented on the PGA Tour than ever.

"It's only going to increase, and we're going to have a lot of players from countries that traditionally haven't been into golf that are going to start to play this game at a high level."

Tianlang's participation at Augusta this week continues a type of youth movement in men's major golf championships. In 2012 we were all treated to Beau Hossler, 17, and his magical run at the US Open. While he ultimately fell back from contention, the idea that a teenager could win one of golf's most prestigious trophies was mind-boggling.

Or, as Tiger put it, frightening.

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