Slow play is agreed to be one of golf's biggest issues, on both professional and amateur golf. But when 14-year-old Tianlang Guan, was assessed a one-shot, slow-play penalty on the 17th hole, a large portion of the Twittersphere reacted strongly against the decision.
In an interview with ESPN, Guan said he respected the decision: "I know the rules pretty good. I think my routine is pretty good, too. But just the wind [was strong], so we had to change [clubs]. So the weather wasn't good today so it was tough to make a decision [on which club to use]."
Our Dave Shedloski reported that Guan was given three warnings after his group played the 12th hole. After the group did not pick up the pace by the 17th hole, Guan's par on the 17th was changed to a bogey.
It drew immediate reaction on social media.
__ Golf World Executive Editor Ron Sirak__ (@RonSirak) polled his Twitter followers, and got instant feedback. Results: 94 voted AGAINST the penalty, 21 were OK with it.
GolfDigest.com Editor Sam Weinman (@samweinman): The Guan penalty would be a lot easier to stomach if this sort of penalty was a regular occurrence. Last slow penalty in a major was 2004.
__ Golf World contributing writer Dave Shedloski (@DaveShedloski):__ Slow play has been a bane on tour for decades. Maybe a few penalties are way overdue. Irony is problem predates 14 yr. old kid. #masters
__ Golf Digest Global Golf Director Stina Sternberg (@StinaSternberg)__: This may be the most moronic move Augusta has made. If Guan misses cut b/c of his penalty, golf will never live it down.
__ Former PGA Tour pro and Champions Tour player John Cook (@johncookgolf)__: Â·I feel so bad for Guan, inside cut line tho. Good news. Unfortunately the sign of times. Jr,college,am golf watch pros creep along. #speedup
__ GolfChannel.com's Jason Sobel (@JasonSobelGC):__ Â·More Just received this text from PGA Tour pro: "I don't think I've ever seen a more ridiculous time to start enforcing a rule." Amen, brother.
__ Yahoo! Sports golf blogger (@shanebacon):__ Augusta officials also announced they plan to tell all kids at the tournament Santa is not real.
__ Former PGA Tour pro and Golf Channel's Steve Flesch (@Steve_Flesch):__ Â·More : I am sick to my stomach... REALLY! They pick this kid to make an example out of? Worst decision ever in golf!"// ruining a great story.
__ PGA Tour pro Jamie Lovemark (@jamielovemark):__ "More What a terrible decision to penalize Guan. Yeah, maybe he was playing slowly but the kids trying to make history, just look the other way."
__ European Tour pro (@shanelowrygolf):__ Can't believe that they gave out a penalty to Guan at the masters. The fact that he is looking at tour players playing every week like snails means that he plays the same way. This is a joke. Hope he makes the cut now. I just think if it was te bigger players such as tiger nothing would have been done.
__PGA Tour pro Josh Teater (@JTeater12): __ Awesome performance by #Guan @the_masters still can't believe they penalized him. Go get it this weekend!
__ FOXSports.com Golf writer Robert Lusetich (@RobertLusetich):__ You have GOT TO BE KIDDING ME?? They penalize Guan one stroke for slow play on 17. Turtles everywhere in pro golf & they ping this kid?
__ ESPN.com senior writer Bob Harig (@BobHarig):__ As brutally slow as it is out here anyway, you going to make an example of a 14-year-old when professionals won't get moving? #Masters
__ Rapper 'Lil Wayne (@LilTunechi)__: Guan shouldn't have the penalty. Shame on the Masters
__ European soccer player Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker)__: Guan Tianlang given a one shot penalty. Very harsh on the 14 year old. Couldn't they have given him detention instead? #Masters
From our Facebook and Twitter pages:
__ Dan Chin on Golf Digest's Facebook page:__ Tiger has been out there for an hour and a half and hasn't finished the 4th hole. This kid is far from the only one playing slow out there.
__ @WittyGolfer to @GolfDigestMag's Twitter handle:__ No class giving him the penalty, Tiger can walk around putts for 12 mins, he & others will never be stroked.
__ Matthew Chlopek on Golf Digest's Facebook page:__ If he broke a rule, he should be penalized. Doesn't matter the age.
__ Michael Cook on Golf World's Facebook page:__ Making an example of a kid instead of someone that has done it countless times on the tour. Augusta National should be ashamed.....this is on them - not the PGA tour.
Brandon Urban on Golf World's Facebook page: Complete joke. If Ben Crane has never received a slow play penalty then no one deserves one. No reason to set the precedent now.