Friday, April 12

Masters Slow-Play Penalty on Guan Is Ill-Timed

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:
Tianlang Guan was assessed a one-shot penalty for violation of Rule 6-7 of the Rules of Golf and the Tournament’s Pace of Play Policy. His group, which included Ben Crenshaw and Matteo Manassero, was deemed out of position on No. 10. Guan began being timed on No. 12 and received his first warning on No. 13 after his second shot. In keeping with the applicable rules, he was penalized following his 2nd shot on the 17th hole when he again exceeded the 40-second time limit by a considerable margin. 
-Fred Ridley Masters Tournament Competition Committee Chairman
Guan 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.


Anonymous said...

I don't agree with you that it was ill-timed...he was warned about slow play.

I remember afew yrs ago when Tiger playing with Harrington in the final round,maybe in Philadelpia,Harrington was put on the clock.Harrington fumbled and lost.And Tiger was saying Padrey should not have been put on the clock cuz they were the last group.

I was befuddled how the games best could make such a statement decrying time rule.

The Armchair Golfer said...

I agree. He was warned. And they were within the rules to penalize if he had bad times. That wasn't really my point, though.

Why him? Was he really the first slow player in the 77-year history of the tournament? I didn't like the timing and how a 14-year-old amateur was singled out. Not smart in my opinion. Not good for the Masters or the game.