Tianlang Guan learned a tough lesson about pace of play Friday, but his one-stroke penalty for lolly-gagging around Augusta National as if he were Kevin Na ended up not costing him a chance to become the youngest golfer ever to make the cut at the Masters.
It’s also a drill that Guan’s older colleagues on the PGA Tour have yet to memorize.
The 14-year-old from China received a one-stroke penalty for slow play during Friday's second round, causing Twitter to explode with criticism for officials who penalized a defenseless teen while ignoring creepy crawlers like Tiger Woods, who made his way around the course in about the same five-hour-plus timeframe as Guan.
For the love of Bobby Jones, Tiger's group has been out there 5:25 and they still have one hole to play.— Steve Elling (@EllingYelling) April 12, 2013
David Duval, who briefly challenged Woods for golf’s No. 1 ranking back in the day, tweeted after Guan’s penalty that Woods and Jim Furyk were among the PGA Tour pros whom course cops should keep their eyes on for their snail-like progress.
Tiger isn't the fastest. Nor is Furyk for the big names.— David Duval (@david59duval) April 12, 2013
The seasoned regulator who assessed the penalty on Guan, John Paramor, was, coincidentally, the same official in the middle of a slow-play controversy involving Woods and Padraig Harrington back in 2009. And while Guan waited most of the afternoon to see if his hero, Woods, would shoot a low enough score to knock him out of weekend play, it was Jason Day who held the kid’s Masters fate in his bag.
Day, bidding to be the first Australian to win a green jacket, fired a 4-under 68 to take sole possession of first place, at 6-under, heading into Saturday’s third round. A missed birdie putt on 17 kept Guan’s hopes alive, and when Day made par on 18, the youngster who’s captured the imagination of golf fans worldwide was in, which made Jim Nantz happy.
"There's a lot at stake coming up here in a minute with Jason Day," the ESPN/CBS broadcaster said as the Aussie was finishing up his second round. "Will he move the cut line and break the hearts of many of fans around the world?"
No, No, he won’t, Jim.