Masters will test Tianlang's mettle
DIFFERENT STROKES:A week ago, after collecting a wheelbarrow full of greenbacks for an exhibition match in China with his pal Tiger Woods, world number one Rory McIlroy remarked: “I wouldn’t be surprised at all if one of the next great players was to come from China.”
Now, it might be idiotic to burden 14-year-old Guan Tianlang (on the left of the picture) with such expectations so soon after winning the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship and earning his ticket to next year’s Masters tournament at Augusta, but the prodigy’s emergence is a telltale sign of what is coming down the road, in much the same way as Asian golfers have taken a dominant grip on the women’s game. Tianlang took up golf as a four-year-old and won his age division of last year’s Junior World Golf Championship by 11 shots. He became the youngest competitor in a European Tour-sanctioned event at the China Open in April, when he missed the cut.
Playing in the Masters is a different ball game. He will be rubbing shoulders with the big boys. Interestingly, given the debate over the use of the long-putter, with the RA and the USGA primed to move against the club, Tianlang is an advocate of the broomhandle implement.
Nicklaus explains support for Romney
Although Barack Obama is a golf-loving president, the sentiment among PGA Tour players has traditionally come on the Republican side . . . which explains why 18-time Major winner Jack Nicklaus has thrown his public weight behind Mitt Romney’s bid for the White House.
Nicklaus told the Los Angeles Times he had had a motivation beyond politics for supporting Romney. A lifelong friend and playing partner of Gerald Ford, Nicklaus told the newspaper he had remained neutral and turned down a request for campaign support from Ford for the 1976 presidential campaign with Jimmy Carter. “He asked me to get involved and I didn’t,” Nicklaus said. “I said, ‘Mr President, I’ve always stayed away from politics. I deal with people on both sides.’ He respected that and we played a lot of golf after that. But I didn’t help him and he lost Ohio by several thousand votes. Had he won Ohio, he would have won the election. I’ve always had big regrets about that.“In spite of me not doing that, he paid me a great honour: I was a pallbearer at his funeral. He was such a good friend. That’s why I’ve gotten involved ” he said.
“I want to win the US Masters at Augusta”
– Guan Tianlang after becoming – at 14 – the youngest player to qualify for the season-opening Major.
“Thanks for all the Birthday wishes!! Turned 34 today. #LoveMyFans”
– Bubba Watson, all of 20 years older than the Chinese prodigy, who will seek to become the first player since Tiger Woods in 2002 to successfully defend the Masters when he tees up at Augusta next April.
“So nice to be at home, kids were still asleep when I got home. 2 mins later they were bouncing down the stairs very happy. #priceless”