|Guan Tianlang will test his skills against Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy at Mission Hills.|
By Mandarin Media
CHINESE AMATEUR SENSATION GUAN TIANLANG will join World No. 1 Tiger Woods and two-time major winner Rory McIlroy in a Skills Challenge before the two established mega-stars head out for The Match at Mission Hills, to be held over the Blackstone Course at Mission Hills Haikou on Oct. 28.
Guan, who made Masters history earlier this year—competing as a 14 year old and making the cut on golf's biggest stage—will join his idols in a Skills Challenge on the practice range, as part of the warm-up prior to The Match. All three players will demonstrate precision and technique by hitting targets placed strategically around the range, while simultaneously engaging with and giving tips to what organizers expect to be a massive group of aspiring young golfers.
Guan, a Guangzhou native, has been a regular at Mission Hills youth tournaments since 2008. Indeed, Mission Hills Haikou will host a two-day tournament for juniors Oct. 26-27—winners of the boys' and girls' events (in the 12-15 and 16-18 age groups) will receive their prizes from Woods and McIlroy after The Match at Mission Hills. The low gross winners, boys and girls, will qualify for the International Junior Golf Tour's Tournament of Champions in Grand Cypress, Florida, May 25-27, 2014.
Directly after the Skills Challenge, Woods and McIlroy will also conduct a clinic for the Chinese National Junior Team, many members of which will have competed over the weekend.
Admission to The Match at Mission Hills (and the Skills Challenge) will be free of charge for all spectators under the age of 18.
'I might have a chance'
"It's pretty exciting for me to compete against Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy in a Skills Challenge before they play The Match at Mission Hills," said Guan, who has become a golfing icon in his home country. "As the event is taking place in China, I hope to get some local support. I might have a chance because these are short targets. I'm glad it's not a long-driving contest!
"It will be nice to see Tiger again because he has been very supportive, such as when we practiced together at this year's Masters. I haven't played with Rory before, but we had a nice chat at the Masters and he also offered me some good advice. Both Tiger and Rory achieved a lot of success when they were teenagers, so I always appreciate it whenever they offer advice."
Woods, recently named PGA Tour Player of the Year for the 11th time, was happy to accept the skills challenge and looked forward to reuniting with Guan.
"The skills challenge with Guan should be fun," said Woods, holder of 79 PGA Tour titles including five this year.
"I'm really excited about his future and what he's doing for the profile of golf in China, so it's great he'll be a part of The Match at Mission Hills. I know we'll have a lot of junior golfers watching us that day and it's great that this has been added into the mix."