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2013 Masters Round 4

2013 Masters Round 4

PGA Tour Confidential: Adam Scott wins Masters for first major title

Tianlang Guan
Robert Beck / Sports Illustrated
Tianlang Guan finished in 58th place, the best finish among all amateurs at the Masters.

5. In his Masters Diary, Gary Player called Tianlang Guan making the cut at 14 "the most historic event in golf I've witnessed in my lifetime." Do you agree with Player? What about Guan's game that makes you feel like we could be looking at a future PGA Tour star?

Van Sickle: It's unlike Gary Player to resort to hyperbole but I agree, Guan is a big deal. He may or may not prove to be a world-class player, but his image is the biggest thing to happen to Asian golf, maybe ever, and we will feel its rippling effects probably sooner than we expect.

Ritter: Something tells me that if given some time for further reflection, Mr. Player may admit that he has seen other events over his Hall of Fame career that surpass Guan's performance at Augusta, but I applaud his enthusiasm. As for Guan, he could be a future star, a complete bust, or anything in between. Let's give him some time.

Godich: Remarkable. I didn't think the kid would break 80. His swing isn't exactly a thing of beauty, but his short game is. That said, let's let him get through the eighth grade before we anoint him as a future PGA Tour star.

Reiterman: Well, the Black Knight has certainly seen a lot in his day, so you have to take his comment seriously. But time will tell. K.J. Choi and Y.E. Yang have obviously done a lot for golf in Asia, and Guan's incredible week can't do anything but help.

Wei: Well, Guan was the youngest to play in the Masters and then he became the youngest to make the cut WITH a one-shot penalty -- which was the first-known in Masters history, so I guess it was indeed the most historic event in golf in that regard! At first, I thought it was a bit of a hyperbole, but when I thought about it like that, it makes sense. Guan has won a lot at the amateur level before he's even in high school, which is a good indicator of players becoming future Tour stars. His short game and touch were incredibly impressive, he was the shortest hitter in the field, he didn't have a double bogey all week, and the way handled himself with maturity and class in the television interview after he got the slow-play penalty -- in his second language, no less -- was mind-blowing. Would you like me to go on?

Gorant: Historic depends on what happens next. Does he ignite a golf boom in China? Does he become a top-line player? Along those lines, I'm not sure he'll make it. Probably 50-50 that he becomes a major player in the game. Lots can change when you're only 14, everything from interests to body types to abilities.

Morfit: I think Gary got a little carried away. He likes those diminutive golfers, obviously, but 14 is pretty darn impressive. I have no idea if we're looking at a future Tour star. He's too young to make such a prediction.

Lynch: Gary's enthusiasm is admirable. So was Guan's grace in a difficult situation on Friday. Others could learn from both.

6. After Guan's slow-play penalty on Friday, David Duval tweeted out a list of slow players on the PGA Tour, including regular offenders like Ben Crane and Kevin Na and also Padraig Harrington, Jim Furyk and Tiger Woods. Considering how slow play is on Tour, was the penalty on Guan fair?

Godich: You answered your own question. All the debate about slow play on Tour, and they make an example out of the kid? The ruling would have had some teeth if somebody else was penalized on Saturday or Sunday. I'm sure there were plenty of candidates.

Van Sickle: According to my sources, Guan took six minutes to hit a putt on one green earlier in that round. He was blatantly, over-the-top slow and finally couldn't be ignored. The penalty was fair. And to be honest, it only added to his notoriety and his legend. I think he did everything last week but kill a bear with his bare hands like Davy Crockett.

Ritter: He was warned three times during his back nine to pick up the pace. It was tough but fair.

Gorant: I want to know if other players have had bad times and not been penalized. If so then it's a total sham. One of the TV guys explained how the current rule protects slow pokes, because the whole group has to be out of position before individuals start getting timed. So slow guys can plod along until they're on the clock then pick up the pace.

Lynch: A friend of mine took his 12-year-old daughter to a junior event in Georgia last weekend and rounds took six hours. That's laughable, and the pro game is no better. Forget a "three strikes" theory: slap the offenders with stroke penalties and DQ them for a second offense. Guan received multiple warnings, he just isn't experienced enough to game the system like the pros, who speed up after a warning then slow it down soon thereafter. Golf needs to do more than name and shame.

Reiterman: Penalty was fair ... if that's how it was enforced at every tournament. Unfortunately that's not how it is and they decided to make an example of a 14-year-old. If they had hit Crane or Na with a slow-play penalty, we'd be having an entirely different conversation.

Wei: It didn't seem like a single player agreed with Guan's penalty. I spoke with a few players or entourage members on-site and they all said it was slow in general. One player-manager on site said via text, "Everyone was slow, Kevin Na was in front of us and he took forever again. Our group played the front 9 in 3:15. 5.5 round." Guan was slow, but maybe the warning could have been communicated better. When I saw him play on Thursday, his pace of play was one of the first thing that crossed my mind, so why wasn't he warned then? Crenshaw's caddie said the same thing.

Morfit: Yes, it was fair. He was warned and warned, so I'm glad someone did something about it, or at least tried to do the right thing. I'm glad he didn't miss the cut because of it.

7. Phil Mickelson had one of his worst Masters ever, finishing 9-over, and Rory McIlroy took himself out of contention with a 79 on Saturday. What happened to these pre-tournament favorites?

Morfit: I'm still wondering that myself. At least Rory was sort of in it for half the tournament. Mickelson was just awful and not even close in any way. My guess is he wasn't feeling well with the arthritis.

Van Sickle: I guess the course was too easy for Phil. Hey, that's what he said. Rory still hasn't found it this year. One good round in San Antonio doesn't mean it's all OK and perhaps he's spent so much time on his long game that his short game wasn't quite ready for Augusta.

Ritter: Neither Phil nor Rory came into the Masters in top form. It wasn't their week.

Wei: Phil was rattled because the Shell Houston Open wasn't the week before the Masters, per usual, and perhaps that messed him up. It was weird to hear him say in his pre-tournament presser he was nervous going into the week! Rory's 79 on Saturday was a bit alarming, but I was afraid he might make a mistake or two that would cost him. However, a lot of players had high rounds on Saturday. Keegan Bradley, one of the favorites going into the week, shot 82.

Godich: Rory had never finished better than 15th in four appearances at the Masters, and the runner-up showing in San Antonio might have been a tease. As for Phil, he wasn't exactly riding a wave of momentum when he pulled into Magnolia Lane. And while Augusta National rewards good shot-making, it can also expose you if you're not on your game.

Reiterman: Phil ... you just never know. I mean a "Phrankenwood"? Rory was cramming to find any kind of form for Augusta, and clearly he's still not 100% confident on the course.

Lynch: Phil is past his prime and Rory is having an erratic season. Footnotes to the week, nothing more.

 

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