APRIL 17 OFF THE MARK COLUMN — MARK SPENSLEY, CO-PUBLISHER
When I was fourteen I could hit a driver pretty good. Long and straight most of the time. How I knew this was by the comments that I would get from any adult I might happen to be playing with.
I’m not sure when my father stuck a golf club in my hand but I sure wish it came with some serious lessons. And I wish I would have taken it much more serious as a youth.
But then again, at 14, I had no desire to be playing in such a prestigious tournament as the Masters. Nor the talent.
That’s what makes the play of 14-year-old Chinese golfer, Guan Tianlang, so impressive. Can you even imagine being a prodigy of something at just the age of fourteen? Not me.
I was very excited to see Tianlang make the cut, enabling him to play over the weekend. Even the slow play penalty he endured didn’t affect his showing to the world what a talented, young golfer he is.
And speaking of his slow play penalty, kind of bogus in my mind. He is the first to be dealt that penalty in the history of the Masters and it’s a pretty uncommon penalty to be called.
In my mind you give the kid a break and I realize he was warned a couple of times. Fourteen-year-old kids do not necessarily process information as quickly as adults and it sounds like the windy conditions affected his judgment on what club to use.
In his post-match interview, he did show maturity in his response to the many questions fired his way. Hopefully this makes the young man much stronger as he advances through his career.