Meet The 14-Year-Old Chinese Kid Who's Playing In The Masters

guan tianlang practice augusta masters

At 14 years old, Guan Tianlang will become the youngest-ever player at the Masters this week.

The 8th grader has an incredible individual story.

But his presence at Augusta is also an indication of the rising popularity of golf in China.

After being officially banned until 1984, courses are being built, upper-middle class people are playing, and the state is spending money on identifying young players.

China is on the edge of a golf boom, and Tianlang is at the centre of it.

First of all, golf is in it's baby years in China. The sport was banned until 1984

Source: Telegraph

Golf was considered bourgeois by the communist government, while ping-pong was the peoples' sport

Source: Telegraph

But the birth of China's upper-middle class has spawned a golf boom. The number of courses has gone from 40 in 1990 to 580 today

Source: NY Times

It's getting state support now too. Since golf was added to the 2016 Olympics, China has been identifying and training young players

Source: NY Times

Enter 14-year-old Guan Tianlang

He qualified for the Masters by winning the Asia-Pacific Amateur title last year in a HUGE upset

He came into the event ranked 490th in the world among amateurs. He was a nobody

Source: ESPN

Back home, he's an 8th-grader at the prestigious Zhixin High School, where he learned to speak English fluently

Source: ESPN

He has to do a pile of homework at Augusta when he's not playing alongside the world's best

Source: ESPN

Already this week he has played a practice round with Tiger Woods

He wasn't born yet when Tiger won his 1st Masters in 1997

In other words, he's the youngest person to ever play in the Masters, BY TWO YEARS

Source: CBS

Just making the cut would be a massive, massive surprise for him

His average drive is only 250 yards, meaning he'll struggle to reach par-5s and some par-4s in two shots

Source: NY Times

Not everyone is on board with him playing, Arnold Palmer said playing at Augusta at 14-year-old could hurt him

Source: NY Times

But Tianlang's Masters appearance isn't just about him, it's about the future of golf in China

5 Chinese TV stations are going to cover the event, the most ever

Source: ESPN

Golf in China is in its infancy, but a homegrown star like Tianlang would do wonders for its popularity

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