The latest next big thing in golf will play in next week’s Memorial Tournament.
The Memorial announced Monday that 14-year-old Chinese amateur sensation Tianlang Guan has accepted an exemption to compete next week at the 38th edition of Jack Nicklaus’ event at Muirfield Country Club in Dublin.
Tianlang became the youngest player to make a cut in a major championship in PGA Tour history at The Masters last month. His invitation to the first major of the season came by way of his victory at the 2012 Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship, and since the Masters has played in two additional PGA events.
“I am very excited to accept the invitation to play at the Memorial Tournament,” Tianlang said in a statement. “It is Jack Nicklaus’ event, and the same as all the golf fans out there I have very high respect to Mr. Nicklaus, not just as a golf legend, but also as a great person. He has been actively involved in the development of golf in China, and junior golf development worldwide, and as a junior golfer myself I appreciate what he has done to help us grow. My parents and I got the chance to meet him in person at the Masters, and that was one of the highlights of my week at Augusta National. I appreciate a lot the Memorial Tournament for having me there, and it is going to be a great week.”
Said Nicklaus: “I have had the fortunate pleasure of spending time with Guan and his family, and I have found him to be mature beyond his years and very passionate about his development in the game. The performance of this young 14-year-old—who, mind you, is just an eighth-grader—in making the cut at the Masters and then in New Orleans was fantastic. Winning the Asia-Pacific Amateur was a great achievement in and of itself, but his maturity, composure and competitiveness in these two significant events sends a message that this young man has a wonderful future. For the growth of the game internationally, he is a role model for all aspiring Asian amateurs, as well as young boys and girls around the globe, so it is only appropriate to give him another opportunity to compete on a world-class stage.”