Tianlang Guan has everybody talking about his upcoming date with destiny, when the 14-year-old from China becomes on Thursday the youngest golfer ever to start in a Masters. Two particularly cranky older guys -- PGA Tour pros Charlie Beljan and Matt Every -- aired their less-than-glowing reviews of Guan’s pending turn at Augusta on Twitter Monday.
Seems that the tour’s version of Statler and Waldorf believe the kid and four of his amateur cohorts should be stuck at home watching Tiger Woods win his fifth green jacket and let the big boys play through.
@matteverygolf can't even get in with a pgatour win. But 14 year olds are welcome.— Charlie beljan (@Charliebeljan) April 8, 2013
Guess Beljan and Every did not get the memo about how amateur participation in the Masters is truly a tradition unlike any other. Uh, guys, ever heard of Bobby Jones? Curtis Strange, twice in the field as an amateur, sure has, and he had some advice for the six young men who will play this week as non-professionals.
"Enjoy the week, do the very best you can," Strange said during a conference call with reporters last week. "From a player perspective, pace yourself, don't play too much, don't practice too much, go home. Do your homework and go home, because you want to have some energy for Thursday and Friday....I was exhausted by Thursday morning."
It looks as if you don’t have to worry about Tianlang having fun. The kid played a practice round with Tiger and Dustin Johnson Monday, during which he took part in the wicked cool annual tradition of skipping golf balls across the water to the green on No. 16. Seriously, does it get much better than that when you’re 14 -- or, you know, ever?
(golf clap/Kyle Porter)
As for why some amateurs, like Matt Kuchar, go on to have successful pro careers, and others flame out early, Paul Azinger chimed in with his own unique hypothesis (hint: it has everything to with facial hair).
"My theory is that if you can shave early on, you have the potential to peak early when you're an amateur and then fall away. But if you can't grow a quality beard, but when you're winning the amateur, the likelihood is that you'll peak later in life like Kuchar, who probably still can't grow a beard," Zinger said. "That's my theory. It might be horse****, but I like it."
As for Messrs. Beljan and Every -- we’ll let the latter part of Azinger’s argument speak for itself.