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.

Watch: Fleetwood gets emotional with family after Race to Dubai win

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 19, 2017, 5:30 pm

Tommy Fleetwood took home the season-long Race to Dubai title on Sunday after a T-21 finish at the DP World Tour Championship.

He was, understandably, emotional after learning his fate while sitting with his wife and baby following a career year in which he won the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship and the French Open and finished fourth at the U.S. Open.

Luckily for us, cameras were rolling:

Matsuyama after Koepka rout: 'Huge gap between us'

By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 4:22 pm

Hideki Matsuyama offered a blunt assessment after finishing 10 shots behind Brooks Koepka at the Japan Tour's Dunlop Phoenix event.

Koepka waxed the field en route to successfully defending his title in Japan, shooting a 20-under par total that left him nine shots clear of a runner-up group that included PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Xander Schauffele. Koepka's score was one shot off the tournament record, and his margin for victory eclipsed Tiger Woods' eight-shot romp in 2004.

Matsuyama appeared set to make a final-round charge after a birdie on No. 2 was followed by an ace on the par-3 third hole. But he played the next eight holes in 3 over and eventually finished alone in fifth place following a 2-under 69. Afterwards, he stacked his game up against that of Koepka in a telling comment to the Japan Times.

"I feel there's a huge gap between us," Matsuyama said.

The Japanese phenom entered the week ranked No. 4 in the world, though he will be passed in the next rankings by Jon Rahm following the Spaniard's win in Dubai. Matsuyama won twice this year on the PGA Tour, including the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, but he has largely struggled since missing out on a maiden major title at the PGA Championship, where he tied for fifth.

Matsuyama was a runner-up to Koepka at the U.S. Open earlier this summer, and the 25-year-old seems headed back to the drawing board before defending his title at the Hero World Challenge in two weeks.

"I don't know whether it's a lack of practice or whether I lack the strength to keep playing well," Matsuyama said. "It seems there are many issues to address."

McCormick to caddie for Spieth at Aussie Open

By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 2:21 pm

When Jordan Spieth returns next week to defend his title at the Australian Open, he will do so without his regular caddie on the bag.

Spieth and Michael Greller have combined to win 14 tournaments and three majors, including three events in 2017. But Greller's wife, Ellie, gave birth to the couple's first child on Oct. 13, and according to a report from the Australian Herald Sun he will not make the intercontinental trip to Sydney, where Spieth will look to win for the third time in the last four years.

Instead, Spieth will have longtime swing coach and native Aussie Cameron McCormick on the bag at The Australian Golf Club. McCormick, who won PGA Teacher of the Year in 2015, is originally from Melbourne but now lives in Texas and has taught Spieth since he was a rising star among the junior golf ranks in Dallas.

While Greller has missed rounds before, this will be the first time as a pro that Spieth has used a different caddie for an entire event. Greller was sidelined with an injury last year in Singapore when Spieth's agent, Jay Danzi, took the bag, and trainer Damon Goddard has subbed in twice when Greller was sick, including this year at the Dean & DeLuca Invitational.

Spieth's torrid 2015 season traced back to his win at The Australian in 2014, and he returned to Oz last year where he won a playoff at Royal Sydney over Cameron Smith and Ashley Hall.

Rahm wins finale, Fleetwood takes Race to Dubai

By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 1:42 pm

Jon Rahm captured the final tournament on the European Tour calendar, a result that helped Tommy Fleetwood take home the season-long Race to Dubai title.

Rahm shot a final-round 67 to finish two shots clear of Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Shane Lowry at the DP World Tour Championship. It's the second European Tour win of the year for the Spaniard, who also captured the Irish Open and won on the PGA Tour in January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

"I could not be more proud of what I've done this week," Rahm told reporters. "Having the weekend that I've had, actually shooting 12 under on the last 36 holes, bogey-free round today, it's really special."

But the key finish came from Justin Rose, who held the 54-hole lead in Dubai but dropped back into a tie for fourth after closing with a 70. Rose entered the week as one of only three players who could win the Race to Dubai, along with Sergio Garcia and Fleetwood, who started with a lead of around 250,000 Euros.


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With Fleetwood in the middle of the tournament pack, ultimately tying for 21st after a final-round 74, the door was open for Rose to capture the title thanks to a late charge despite playing in half the events that Fleetwood did. Rose captured both the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open, and was one round away from a two-trophy photo shoot in Dubai.

Instead, his T-4 finish meant he came up just short, as Fleetwood won the season-long race by 58,821 Euros.

The title caps a remarkable season for Fleetwood, who won the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship as well as the French Open to go along with a pair of runner-up finishes and a fourth-place showing at the U.S. Open.

"I find it amazing, the season starts in November, December and you get to here and you're watching the last shot of the season to decide who wins the Race to Dubai," Fleetwood said at the trophy ceremony. "But yeah, very special and something we didn't really aim for at the start of the year, but it's happened."