Tianlang Guan, 14, contemplates a shot during the second round of the Masters… (Mike Ehrmann / Getty Images )
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Ben Crenshaw approached a friend at the 18th tee and warned that “an international incident” was coming.
Tianlang Guan, the 14-year-old from China who is the youngest player in the history of the Masters, had been assessed a rare one-shot penalty for slow play on the 17th hole.
After spending at least 15 minutes pleading Guan’s case to Masters officials after the round, Crenshaw said he felt “sick” about what had transpired.
“He had the most diabolical putt you can face (on No. 16) and made a brilliant two-putt,” said Crenshaw, 61, a two-time Masters champion. “Anybody would take time in order to hit that putt. That’s No. 1. And No.2, I think our group was warned maybe once that we were out of position, and that was on the front nine.
“This isn’t gonna end up pretty, I don’t think. I’m sick. I’m sick for him. He’s 14 years old. When you get the wind blowing out here, believe me, you’re going to change your mind a lot.”
Guan made 4 on No. 17 but that became a bogey-5. He made a terrific up-and-down front the front-left bunker on 18 to shoot a second-round 75, putting him at 4-over. He’s likely to make the cut but he won’t know for several hours.
The last slow-play penalty at a major came at the 2004 PGA Championship, when Steve Lowery was given a one-shot penalty.
"I respect that decision," Guan told CBS. "This is what they can do."
When asked how he would feel about the Masters if he misses the cut by one stroke, Guan said: "Still a wonderful experience for me. I enjoyed this week and I think I did a pretty good job."
A Masters rules official informed Guan of the penalty after the teenager finished the 17th hole.
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