Augusta reaping what it sowed

Augusta reaping what it sowed

Posted in the Mesa Forum

Since: Oct 12

Phoenix, AZ

#1 Jan 3, 2013
The club made history in August when it admitted its first two female members, Condoleezza Rice and Darla Moore, after a long, sometimes contentious debate over whether the private club that has staged the Masters since 1934 would finally open its membership doors to females.

Sunday a different kind of history occurred when Guan Tianlang won the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship in Thailand with his discount golf clubs, prevailing by a single stroke when he holed a 5-footer for par on the last hole at Amata Spring Country Club using a belly putter he first put in his bag in June.

Guan, from China, the youngest player in the field, recently turned 14. He will become the youngest player to compete in the Masters, taking over that distinction from Italy's Matteo Manassero (16 years old in 2010).

Weighing just 125 pounds, Guan could barely reach the 470-yard par-4 finishing hole with a 3-wood, getting up and down from off the green for the clinching par.

"I'm really proud of myself," Guan said Sunday in English during a conference call with reporters. "I think it really helps Chinese golf. They will train even harder. I'm very happy about it."

And therein lays the beauty of his victory and one of the reasons for staging this tournament in the first place with the scotty cameron putter for sale online.

When the event was launched in 2009 with the backing of Augusta National and the R&A, it seemed like a nice idea to establish a big amateur event in Asia. Augusta's involvement would assure first-class treatment, and the R&A has been running golf tournaments for 150 years.

But along with that came this blockbuster: The winner would receive a spot in the Masters and, along with the runner-up, a place in international final qualifying for the Open Championship.

How big is that? Well, plenty of big-name, accomplished professionals have yet to qualify for the Masters. U.S. Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III, for one, is among many who have yet to receive an invitation.

But a 14-year-old middle school student is already looking for housing in Augusta, Ga. The impact it has on others has yet to be quantified, but it can only help a sport that is growing globally in stature, especially in China.

Despite China's immense population, there are few top-level golfers from the country -- now. Most observers feel it is just a matter of time before the Official World Golf Rankings are dotted with Chinese players.

One problem has been the Communist regime's take on the game. To put it nicely, the government frowns on golf, although it has allowed big-money resorts to sprout up all over the country, making it a game mostly for the wealthy. Two big tournaments were just staged there, with European stars Peter Hanson and Ian Poulter prevailing with their burner 2.0 irons.

Slowly the view on the game is changing. And with golf being part of the Olympics starting in 2016, there will be a push to develop players. The dangling carrot of a Masters invite for a prestigious amateur title can only help in pushing China to succeed.

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