Shelby: Eighth-grader Tianlang Guan isn’t old enough to get behind the wheel. But at age fourteen, his driving skills have captured the world’s attention. Today, China’s amateur golf sensation is teeing off in the Masters, one of golf’s most famous events.
Tianlang Guan: The Masters is one of the best tournaments in the world and there are a lot of things to do, so it’s a great experience for me.
Shelby: Guan qualified last November by draining this five-foot putt, making him the youngest player to ever be invited to the Masters, and a hot topic of conversation among the game’s biggest names.
Tiger Woods: For a 14-year-old to be able to come out here and handle himself the way he has done, it’s just unbelievable.
Jack Nicklaus: He has a pretty darn good record for a young kid and he’s obviously got a great future.
Shelby: Guan doesn’t even have a real coach. He works on his game seven days a week with his dad, who got him playing at age five.
When he is not on the course, Guan goes to school in his hometown in China, a place where golf hasn’t been very popular in the past. In fact, golf was officially banned by China’s communist government until 1984. Since things have changed, more than 500 courses have been built across the country since 1990. And China expects to have as many as 20 million golfers by the year 2020.
Guan: It’s good for the Chinese, golf, because it’s not very popular now but it gets stronger and stronger.
Shelby: Guan has said that one of his dreams was to play a practice round with his hero, Tiger Woods. And that dream came true this week in Augusta, Georgia. Guan’s other dream is to play well enough to make the tournament cut and he will know that tomorrow.
Shelby Holliday, Channel One News.