Guan Tianlang accomplished two historic firsts in the second round of the Masters yesterday. He made the cut, becoming the youngest player to do so in any major (he was, after all, the youngest player to ever participate in any major). And he was assessed a stroke-penalty for “slow play” on the 17th hole.
“He became the first player, by all accounts, in the 77 times they’ve held this tournament, to be assessed a penalty for slow play,” writes ESPN’s Gene Wojciechowski.
Guan, the amateur from Guangzhou, China, deserved better than to spend most of his afternoon in a room near the Augusta National grille dining area sweating out his weekend fate. And he definitely deserved better than a one-stroke penalty on the next-to-last hole of his round — in a major — at a place that has no record of ever assessing that kind of penalty.
One of the great Masters feel-good stories of all time almost got T-boned by the letter of the golf law. But then, the stopwatch of rules official John Paramor was wrestled to the ground by fate.
In the interview above with Tom Rinaldi, Guan said he “respects the decision.” Good for him. He took the high road, and later discovered he made the cut anyway. Karma does right.
Guan’s overall score of four-over entitles him to two more days at Augusta. Good for golf fans.