Let's get this out of the way before we begin: You were going to watch the 2013 Masters no matter who was in the field. The first major of the year is the must-see tournament of the year, as the best players in the world gather at historic Augusta National for the one event every golfer to be a part of.
All it takes is a couple bars from this song or a shot of Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player on the first tee at daybreak to get most of us in the mood for the Masters. However, if you needed another reason to make sure you're on the couch for the first major of the year, Guan Tianlang gave us one on Sunday.
Before this week, most of us -- myself included -- knew very little about the 14-year-old phenom from China. There was talk of him being the "next big thing," but it wasn't until this week that everyone saw how great he could really be when he captured the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship.
Winning one of the most prestigious amateur events in the world at the ripe age of 14 would've made national news regardless, but Tianlang's victory was historic for another reason. The victory came with a spot in the 2013 Masters field.
That's right: a 14-year-old, the youngest player in Masters, and major championship, history, will be teeing it up at Augusta National next April. Let that sink in for a second. The thought of a kid two years from earning his driver's license in the U.S. teeing it up against the best players in the world is enough to make your head spin.
Over the last couple of years, we've seen some talented teens come along and take the golf world by storm. From Lexi Thompson to Beau Hossler, we're starting to see a power shift in golf from the twentysomethings to a generation of teenagers who don't seem to fear any player or situation.
Tianlang, who became the youngest player to play in a European Tour event earlier this year, seems to be cut from the same cloth. He sent out a tweet following his win that he wanted "to win the US Masters at Augusta," which, let's be honest, is an incredibly bold statement for a kid who will be playing in his first professional major. Just making the cut or finishing inside the top-30 would be an incredible accomplishment, but Tianlang wants more.
He wants to win the Masters. Ah, you have to love that youthful exuberance.
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