10 - 13 April

'Weak' Tianlang Guan should not be punished, says Colin Montgomerie

Last Updated: 13/04/13 11:43am

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Guan: handed a rare one-stroke penalty

Guan: handed a rare one-stroke penalty

Colin Montgomerie said it was "hard to fathom" the decision to single out 14-year-old Tianlang Guan for slow play on the second day of The Masters.

The Chinese teenager, the youngest player to ever appear at Augusta, was given a one-stroke penalty after being put on the clock during his second round, a decision that left him in danger of missing the cut.

Guan ultimately survived to play again at the weekend, but Sky Sports pundit Montgomerie felt officials were wrong to make an example of the youngster when no other players were punished.

"I just cannot believe they have picked out the weakest player in the field," he said.

"He's 14 years old and he doesn't understand pace of play. Yes, he's obviously been put on the clock and there are rules and regulations, I admit that.

"But I still cannot possibly believe they have given him a shot penalty. I just can't believe they have picked on the weakest target in this field, I just can't fathom that. A minute or so... come on. Let him get on with it and let him go.

"It is a shame to single out one particular player and they will have to come up with a very good excuse as to why they've fined just one particular person.

"On a Friday afternoon it's very slow anyway; I found that myself. I stood for almost 40 minutes on the 15th tee once when it was reachable.

"They put the pin on a most difficult position on the fourth just over the bunker. People were making mistakes there and that's why it backed up."

Tiger Woods and Luke Donald only completed three holes in the first 80 minutes of their round due to delays ahead of them, and were forced to wait around 30 minutes on the fourth hole.

Montgomerie admitted slow play is an issue in the sport, but felt the problem clearly extended beyond the inexperienced Chinese teenager.

He added: "We're given four hours 20 minutes to play this course and if everybody was put on the clock from the word go, form the first tee onwards, that would be it.

"Nobody would go over four hours 20 minutes. That's one hour 20 minutes quicker than we had today.

"Fining multi-millionaires $1,000 is not the way to go. A shot penalty could cost a player's career and unfortunately this young lad fell foul of those rules.

"I hope the other players take notice, but I am sad they penalised the weakest player out there - and not just the weakest, but somebody that didn't fully understand the rules in play."


However, fellow Sky Sports pundit Butch Harmon said the one-stroke penalty was justified, insisting that the teenager had been given plenty of warning.

He pointed out that Guan must have seriously fallen foul of the rules or else the decision - a rare occurrence in golf - would not have been made.

"I'm going to have to disagree with Monty," Harmon said.

"I don't think they're making an example of a 14-year-old boy. I think he would probably get more leniency than anyone else.

"But I think it's important to understand you're just not given a penalty shot for being slow. You are warned, you're told you're on the clock and you're timed again and again and again and then you're given a penalty.

"I for one think it's the right thing to do Slow play is a disaster on all the tours. It's unfortunate it just happens to be him, but I don't think they picked on him. I think he must have really fallen behind.

"He was warned on the 12th hole, I watched it on the Amen Corner coverage on my iPad app and he took forever. He was warned and was obviously given another warning and was warned again."

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