Tianlang Guan, the 14-year-old amateur from China, became the youngest person ever to make a Masters and PGA cut when he made it to the weekend on the number after surviving a controversial one-shot, slow-play penalty that was assessed against him in the second round on Friday.
When Jason Day, the Masters leader who was at -6, made par on the 18th, it ensured that Guan, who was 10 shots back at +4 after shooting +3 on Friday, would make the cut. The Masters this year adopted new rules that allowed the top 50 players and ties in addition to anyone who is 10 shots away from the leader to make the cut.
Guan benefited from that rule, but another rule that is rarely ever enforced almost proved to be disastrous.
On Friday, a European rules official gave Guan a one-stroke penalty on the 17th hole for taking longer than 50 seconds to hit an approach shot after Guan’s group had been put on the clock for slow play. Guan said he took a bit more time because the winds started to pick up on the course.
“I respect the decision,” Guan said. “This is the work that he [does].”
As Breitbart Sports wrote, Ben Crenshaw, one of Guan’s playing partners, said the penalty would be “worse” if it caused him to ultimately miss the cut by one stroke.
“This isn’t going to end up pretty, I don’t think. I’m sick,” Crenshaw said. “He’s 14 years old. When you get the wind blowing out here, believe me you’re going to change your mind. I’m sorry, I’m a player. It’s not easy to get around this golf course.”
Because Guan made the cut, the situation did not end up being ugly. The Masters luckily avoided a potential public relations disaster going into the weekend that could have overshadowed the tournament.