Mr. Guan Tianlang is the 14 year old amateur golfer from Guangzhou, People’s Republic of China who shocked the golfing world by winning the Asian-Amateur Championship on Sunday, November 4 outside of Bangkok, Thailand.
Guan won the tournament with a final round of 71 or one-under, beating Taiwan’s Pan Cheng-tsung by a single shot. He previously played this season at the Volvo China Open and is known as a talented prospect.
Why is he in the news?
By winning the Asian-Amateur, Guan will become the youngest ever player to tee off on the hallowed grounds of Augusta National Golf Club at The Masters next April. Having earned his golden ticket to golf’s most special tournament Guan has electrified China, becoming a national hero overnight.
Stories of his achievement are burning up the internet in social-media crazed China. Guan’s win in Thailand and his subsequent berth at The Masters exemplifies the powerful and positive people-to-people ties that bind the United States and Asia together.
What can we expect from him?
Guan’s participation in The Masters is likely to expand viewership of The Masters by multiples among the increasingly golf-crazed Chinese middle and upper-classes. It will also likely inspire a new generation of Chinese and Asian golfers – and that impact will likely go well beyond traditional definitions of economic class as more people access sports digitally.
In addition, we can expect Guan to inspire Chinese, Americans and people around the world to come together around the undeniable humanity of sport. Finally, Guan and The Masters may have just managed to have golf take ping-pong’s place of honor as the sport that brings two of the Asia Pacific’s giants together.