AMATEUR TIANLANG GUAN, THE 14-YEAR-OLD sensation from China, made the cut at the Masters despite being assessed a one-stroke penalty for slow play on the 17th hole. Guan and his playing partners Masters champion Ben Crenshaw and Mateo Manassero had been warned and put on the clock earlier in the round. Guan had received a first warning on the 13th hole.
Guan shot a 75 in windy conditions for a 36-hole total of 148, making the cut on the number. He was the only amateur to make the cut. Jason Day is the second Australian in two days to hold the lead at Augusta National. Day is 6 under after a 68. Fred Couples and first-round leader Marc Leishman are one shot back.
Here's the Masters statement on the Guan penalty:
-Fred Ridley Masters Tournament Competition Committee ChairmanGuan handled the small controversy with aplomb, saying in an interview during ESPN's coverage, "I respect the decision. This is what they can do."
I don't like the penalty.
By the letter of the law, I'm sure it's correct. But I also believe that discretion and judgment are involved. Is someone going to tell me that no other player or group has gotten out of position and exceeded their time at the Masters? Frankly, I would find that hard to believe. Would officials assess the same penalty to a name player, or to a tournament leader?
"This isn't going to wind up pretty, I don't think," Crenshaw said. "I'm sick. I'm sick for him. He's 14 years old."
It seems, well, small. It looks bad, not the time or the way to make a statement about slow play.
"The soft-coated answer would be I feel bad," Couples said, "but I also feel like they just don't go around handing out one-shot penalties here. I don't even know of anyone who has ever gotten one."
No such penalty has been assessed during the Masters, according to Augusta National spokesman Steve Ethun.
The youngest player to make the cut at the Masters, Guan will be around for the weekend. The Green Jackets should be extremely thankful.