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Golf caught in the grips of Guan-mania

April 11th, 2013 · 2 Comments

You can hardly watch 20 minutes of Masters coverage on the Golf Channel before the conversation once  again turns back to 14 year old Chinese phenom Tianlang Guan.

While many are gushing non-stop about his game, his maturity, his putting, etc., etc., I am not. The reason? He uses the anchored putter.

Guan has admitted that the best part of his game is his putting, and he is not kidding. His marksmanship on the greens was responsible for him winning the Asian Amateur, and thus for him even being here in the first place. And then, in today’s first round, he scrounged out a 73 despite hitting only 8 greens (a total that surpassed only eight players in the field of 93) thanks to his putting – he tied for second in average putts per hole with 1.39.

So, if Guan couldn’t putt, he wouldn’t be here, and he wouldn’t be in position to make the cut. Now there is a still a slim chance that the anchoring ban won’t be enacted, but if it is, then he will have wasted a good number of his formative years mastering a technique that he will have to abandon in less than three years.

Possibly Guan is so talented that he will be able to make the switch to the short stick, but I doubt it. A player’s youth is the best time to build the foundation for their later years, and he could be squandering his.

So, while many will be rooting for him tomorrow, I will be hoping that he balloons above the cut line so we won’t have to listen to the media fawn over him all weekend long.

*** UPDATE ***

ESPN’s telecast opened up and the first topic of conversation was Tianlang Guan, naturally, even though he shot a 75 and is currently tied for 61st. Why all of this attention? And then it hit me – the Masters committee wants to build golf in China (they made the winner of the Asian Pacific Amateur eligible for their tournament), so this coverage is just a part of their master plan (pun intended)  for promoting the game in Asia.

Tags: The Game · The Majors

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2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 BD // Apr 11, 2013 at 11:42 pm

    You’re rooting against him because he may have “wasted” several years using a LP? He’s 14 and playing in the Masters! I’d say he’s made pretty good use of his time thus far.

    Perhaps his eventual switchover to a conventional putter will show that he’s nothing special. While I doubt that will happen, if it does, then clearly he will have made the right move for himself in taking advantage of the legitimate use of a LP to lift himself up to the loftiest heights in golf.

    While I don’t think the anchored putter should be legal, I don’t think players should be demonized for using this technique so long as it is legal.

  • 2 Philip Capelle // Apr 12, 2013 at 4:43 am

    Hi BD, I Guan he may have wasted several years mastering the anchored putter, but that is not the reason, as you stated, that I am rooting against him. I abhor the practice of anchoring, so I root against every player that does it, with no exceptions. We all have our reasons why we root for, or against players – as for me, anchoring immediately disqualifies a player. I am not demonizing him – I did not call him a cheater or whatever – I just said that I am not rooting for him. I generally enjoy your posts, even when you disagree with me as I learn alternative points of view – I do not, however, appreciate having words put into my mouth

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