Friday, April 12, 2013
GUAN SLOW AND STRONG KID
The smallest, youngest, and most inexperienced golfer in the Masters got bullied on his
way to making history. Tianlang Guan, who is 14-years old and all of 140 lbs, was making
his way to the 17th green when he was confronted by a large man who had a beef with him.
Think Biff making life miserable for McFly in "Back To The Future". On Friday, Biff was
played by John Paramor, a rules official with a strong background on the European Tour.
He tagged Guan with a one-stroke penalty for slow play.
Yes, I know there are rules and every golfer should abide by them. But when there has
only been one golfer (Glenn Day) on the PGA Tour since 1995 who has been slapped with
a stroke penalty for being slower than molasses in the winter, Paramor wasn't enforcing the
rules, but rather bullying a little kid who had been the talk of the tournament and on the
verge of becoming the youngest player in history to make the cut in one of the four major
---by two years!
Yes, I realize Guan had been warned several times, but seriously, he was hardly the only
player out there to be playing slow enough to cause a rain delay. It took Tiger Woods and
the threesome he was playing in (get your mind out of the gutter) an hour and twenty minutes
to play three holes. That's painful.
I'm sure Paramor looked the other way when reputed slow-players like Sergio Garcia and
Keegan Bradley went through enough pre-shot routines to put the most hardened insomniac
to sleep. Guan's threesome, which included Ben Crenshaw who finishied at +20, wrapped up
their round in close to five and a half hours. You mean to tell me it took them so long to
finish just because of the kid? No way.
We all know the type of people who feel they have to justify their jobs. They know they
do nothing, we know they do nothing, and their parents know they do nothing. But every
once in a while, they have to do something to feel like they are important. This wasn't the
time for Paramor to do that. He should have swallowed his stopwatch, dropped it, or claimed
it had a malfunction.
To penalize the youngest and smallest player sure made it seem like Paramor was picking
on Guan. Do you think Parmor would have the Titleists to go up to Tiger and say,
"Hey, Eldrick, pick up the pace!"? I don't think so.
Paramor confronted Guan on the 17th hole as he was trying to focus on finishing strong
to make the cut. A lot of other golfers would've had a meltdown and stuck their Nike driver
where the sun doesn't shine on Paramor. Many of them would've have become totally
unglued, lost their focus, and blown any shot at closing things out to ensure themselves
of playing on the weekend. Not Guan. The kid didn't get flustered. He was a rock and
finished the tough 18th hole with a par to card a 75 and go four over for the tournament,
which at the time, made him on the edge of the cut line.
When interviewed after the round as he waited to find out his fate, Guan showed the
remarkable class and poise of a remarkably classy and poised seasoned veteran, much less
a 14-year old kid playing in first professional tournament. He didn't bad mouth Paramor
and praised him for doing his job.
Other golfers and fans didn't think that way of Paramor, especially the ones who had
never seen any golfer penalized in the history of the Masters, and there was good reason
for it: nobody in the tournament's history had ever been penalized for slow play.
Guan had to watch second-round leader, Jason Day, miss a birdie putt on 18 before he
could celebrate making the cut and history. Guan became the youngest player ever to
make the cut in a major championship.After he got the news, he tweeted Asia or rather
"Weibo-ed" it (that's China's version of Twitter).
"I made it. "I hope I can make more miracles, more dreams come true. I want to thank
my parents and everyone who cared, supported and helped me." With no thanks to
Paramor, who would've been the most unpopular rules "official", since Jim Joyce botched
the perfect game of Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarragga a few years ago.
The day wasn't perfect for Guan, but it was pretty darn close it. Making history often is.