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.

Twitter Talk

“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”

– Ian Poulter on arriving home to Orlando after his HSBC Champions win.

“Vote for me to be in the featured pairing on @GolfChannel during 1st round of @CMEGroupLPGA. Details Vote: #LPGAonGC”

– LPGA pro (and model) Sandra Gal brazenly seeking votes to make featured group in the Tour championship.


Ian Poulter

(HSBC Champions)

Ball– Titleist ProV1x

Driver– Cobra Zero Limits (8.5 degree loft)

3 wood– Cobra AMP (13.5 degree)

Utility clubs– Cobra Baffler (17 degree), Titleist 909H (21 degree), Titleist 913 H-D (23 degree)

Irons– 5-6 iron: Cobra S3 CB; 7-9 iron: Cobra S3 MB

Pitching Wedge– Cobra S3 HB

Sand Wedge– Vokey 56 degree

Lob Wedge– Vokey 62 degree

Putter– Odyssey White Hot

Woods set to finally get signature on course

After a number of setbacks on the design front, it looks as if Tiger Woods is finally going to get his signature on to a course (rather than just the blueprints) as a course architect in his own right.

Woods had signed up for three separate projects – in Dubai, North Carolina and Mexico – in recent years which all fell by the wayside as the economic recession took hold.

The desert course in Dubai, for one, was originally scheduled to open in 2009 but only three holes were ever constructed before the finances ran out and the site is now nothing more than barren terrain.

The signs are infinitely more encouraging for the latest Woods design project, where the course – called “El Cardonal” – in the Mexican region of Diamante will sit alongside a course designed by Davis Love’s right-hand man, Paul Cowley, which opened three years ago.

The Cowley-design – somewhat bizarrely, given the high temperatures in the region – is termed as a traditional Scottish links layout.

Woods’s design is set to be more cognisant of the Mexican terrain: it will be styled on some of the old-style California courses further up the coast.

Construction on the site started in September, with the Woods course due to be ready for play in either late 2014 or early 2015.

Rules poser

Question:A player marks the position of his ball on the putting green, lifts the ball and sets it aside. By mistake, he putts the ball from the spot where it was set aside. What is the ruling?

Answer:When a ball is lifted (under Rule 20-1), it is out of play. When the player played a stroke with his ball while it was out of play, he played from wrong ball (Rule 15-3) which would lead to the loss of the hole in matchplay. In strokeplay, he incurred a penalty of two strokes and was required to correct the error before playing from the next tee, otherwise he would be disqualified (Rule 15-3b).

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