Rules officials monitor Guan's slow play on Day 3

By Associated PressApril 13, 2013, 11:34 pm

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Tianlang Guan had plenty of adult supervision at the Masters.

Rules officials kept a close eye on the 14-year-old Saturday, a day after a penalty for slow play nearly kept him from playing the weekend.

The youngest player to make the cut at the Masters said he was never put on the clock, but he was told at least twice on the back nine at Augusta National to pick up his pace.

''I didn't think he played slow. I think he played pretty quick, actually,'' said Thorbjorn Olesen, Guan's playing partner. ''He's 14, and there's a big crowd following him, so it's pretty difficult for him. I think he's handled it really, really good.''

The Chinese eighth-grader was penalized for slow play on the 17th hole Friday. The one-stroke penalty left him at 4 over for the tournament, and he had to wait until the very last group finished to learn that he could stick around for the last two rounds. He wound up making the cut on the number after Jason Day missed birdie putts on the 17th and 18th holes.

''Probably 6:30 I went back home and watched TV and relaxed,'' he said. ''I did watch the tournament finish.''


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Asked if he was nervous, Guan said, ''A little. I am pretty excited after the round is finished and I get to play with all the top players on the weekend.''

Guan is at 9 over for the tournament after shooting a 5-over 77 on Saturday.

While slow play is a frequent complaint among golfers, particularly at major events, it's rarely enforced. But rules officials are tailing Guan around Augusta National like overprotective parents.

Conditions at Augusta National are notoriously tricky, even in perfect weather, and it often takes golfers years before they're familiar with the course's quirks. Guan has relied heavily on the advice of his caddie, Brian Tam, who is a regular caddie at Augusta National. And sometimes Guan is overly cautious.

On the 14th hole, for example, he tossed some grass in the air twice to test the wind, grabbed a club and took a few practice swings before changing his mind. He grabbed another club and took a couple more practice swings before finally hitting his shot.

Afterward, a rules official told him he was 6 minutes over on that hole alone, and he needed to speed it up.

Yet Guan and Olesen finished their round in about 4 hours – just about right. They weren't close to the group in front of them, but there also was a sizeable gap between them and the group behind them. Guan and Olesen had already teed off on 17 before the next group, Peter Hanson and John Huh, reached the 15th green.

''The weather is good today and we played in twosomes,'' Guan said. ''So we played fast.''

Guan didn't seem to be bothered that rules officials want to know his whereabouts at all times. .

''It's just a great week for me, and I really enjoy it,'' he said. ''People here are nice, and I learned a lot from the top players. I think I played pretty good rounds these three days.''

A good-sized gallery followed him from hole to hole, including little kids who ran ahead of their parents to stake out spots. Fans already feel they're on a first-name basis with him, as they are with Tiger, Rory and Phil, calling him, simply, ''The Kid.''

''His composure and the poise he's shown, it's amazing,'' said Bill Armstrong, one of the fans following Guan. ''This is huge. It's a global thing right here.''

Heady stuff for a kid whose mom still packs him snacks for the course.

''I didn't think of it too much'' before, Guan said. ''But I'm really happy, and I really appreciate that they're watching me here.''

Some closer than others.

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Ortiz takes Web.com Tour clubhouse lead in Bahamas

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:19 am

Former Web.com Tour Player of the Year Carlos Ortiz shot a bogey-free, 4-under-par 68 Monday to take the clubhouse lead in The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.

Four other players - Lee McCoy, Brandon Matthews, Sung Jae Im and Mark Anderson - were still on the course and tied with Ortiz at 6-under 210 when third-round play was suspended by darkness at 5:32 p.m. local time. It is scheduled to resume at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday.

Ortiz, a 26-year-old from Guadalajara, Mexico, is in search of his fourth Web.com Tour victory. In 2014, the former University of North Texas standout earned a three-win promotion on his way to being voted Web.com Tour Player of the Year.

McCoy, a 23-year-old from Dunedin, Fla., is looking to become the first player to earn medalist honors at Q-School and then win the opening event of the season.

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Randall's Rant: Can we please have some rivalries?

By Randall MellJanuary 16, 2018, 12:00 am

Memo to the golf gods:

If you haven’t finalized the fates of today’s stars for the new year, could we get you to deliver what the game has lacked for so long?

Can we get a real, honest-to-goodness rivalry?

It’s been more than two decades since the sport has been witness to one.

With world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this week, an early-season showdown would percolate hope that this year might be all about rivalries.

It seems as if the stars are finally aligned to make up for our long drought of rivalries, of the recurring clashes you have so sparingly granted through the game’s history.

We’re blessed in a new era of plenty, with so many young stars blossoming, and with Tiger Woods offering hope he may be poised for a comeback. With Johnson, McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler among today’s dynamic cast, the possibility these titans will time their runs together on the back nine of Sundays in majors excites.

We haven’t seen a real rivalry since Greg Norman and Nick Faldo sparred in the late '80s and early '90s.

Woods vs. Phil Mickelson didn’t really count. While Lefty will be remembered for carving out a Hall of Fame career in the Tiger era, with 33 victories, 16 of them with Tiger in the field, five of them major championships, we get that Tiger had no rival, not in the most historic sense.


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Phil never reached No. 1, was never named PGA Tour Player of the Year, never won a money title and never dueled with Woods on Sunday on the back nine of a major with the title on the line.  Still, it doesn’t diminish his standing as the best player not named Tiger Woods over the last 20 years. It’s a feat so noteworthy it makes him one of the game’s all-time greats.

We’ve been waiting for an honest-to-goodness rivalry since Faldo and Norman took turns ruling at world No. 1 and dueling in big events, including the back nine of multiple majors. 

In the '70s, we had Nicklaus-Watson. In the '60s, it was Nicklaus-Palmer. In the '40s and '50s, it was Hogan, Snead and Nelson in a triumvirate mix, and in the '20s and '30s we had Hagen and Sarazen.

While dominance is the magic ingredient that can break a sport out of its niche, a dynamic rivalry is the next best elixir.

Dustin Johnson looks capable of dominating today’s game, but there’s so much proven major championship talent on his heels. It’s hard to imagine him consistently fending off all these challengers, but it’s the fending that would captivate us.

Johnson vs. McIlroy would be a fireworks show. So would Johnson vs. Thomas, or Thomas vs. Day or McIlroy vs. Rahm or Fowler vs. Koepka ... or any of those combinations.

Spieth is a wild card that intrigues.

While he’s not a short hitter, he isn’t the power player these other guys are, but his iron game, short game, putter and moxie combine to make him the most compelling challenger of all. His resolve, resilience and resourcefulness in the final round of his British Open victory at Royal Birkdale make him the most interesting amalgam of skill since Lee Trevino.

Woods vs. any of them? Well, if we get that, we promise never to ask for anything more.

So, if that cosmic calendar up there isn’t filled, how about it? How about a year of rivalries to remember?

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McIlroy: 2018 may be my busiest season ever

By Will GrayJanuary 15, 2018, 6:28 pm

With his return to competition just days away, Rory McIlroy believes that the 2018 season may be the most action packed of his pro career.

The 28-year-old has not teed it up since the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in early October, a hiatus he will end at this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. It will be the start of a busy spring for the Ulsterman, who will also play next week in Dubai before a run of six PGA Tour events leading up to the Masters.

Speaking to the U.K.'s Telegraph, McIlroy confirmed that he will also make a return trip to the British Masters in October and plans to remain busy over the next 12 months.

"I might play more times this year than any before. I played 28 times in 2008 and I'm on track to beat that," McIlroy said. "I could get to 30 (events), depending on where I'm placed in the Race to Dubai. But I'll see."

McIlroy's ambitious plan comes in the wake of a frustrating 2017 campaign, when he injured his ribs in his first start and twice missed chunks of time in an effort to recover. He failed to win a worldwide event and finished the year ranked outside the top 10, both of which had not happened since 2008.

But having had more than three months to get his body and swing in shape, McIlroy is optimistic heading into the first of what he hopes will be eight starts in the 12 weeks before he drives down Magnolia Lane.

"I've worked hard on my short game and I'm probably feeling better with the putter than I ever have," McIlroy said. "I've had a lot of time to concentrate on everything and it all feels very good and a long way down the road."

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What's in the Bag: Sony Open winner Kizzire

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 15, 2018, 6:05 pm

Patton Kizzire earned his second PGA Tour victory by winning a six-hole playoff at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Take a look inside his bag.

Driver: Titleist 917D3 (10.5 degrees), with Fujikura Atmos Black 6 X shaft

Fairway Wood: Titleist 917F2 (16.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Blue 95 TX shaft

Hybrid: Titleist 913H (19 degrees), with UST Mamiya AXIV Core 100 Hybrid shaft

Irons: Titleist 718 T-MB (4), 718 CB (5-6), 718 MB (7-9), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

Wedges: Titleist SM7 prototype (47, 52, 56, 60 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

Putter: Scotty Cameron GoLo Tour prototype

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x