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MMSC: A 14-year-old at the Masters, Ian Poulter's exclamation mark in China

By Shane Bacon | Blogger
Guan Tianlang (left) punched his Masters ticket with his Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship win. (AP)

Imagine for a second when you were 14. Barely into your teens, the things that most normal 14-year-olds were worried about were:

1.) Pimples.

2.) The opposite sex.

3.) Making sure the opposite sex doesn't see your pimples.

So forgive me for being blown away at Guan Tianlang, the 14-year-old Chinese golfer who just qualified for the 2013 Masters by winning the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship. Maybe the most impressive part of his win? The kid led from start to finish, knocking in a short putt on the final hole to win by a shot and earn a trip to Augusta National.

This is just another example of how golf is moving to the younger generation (sorry, Champions Tour guys). The LPGA has been dealing with this since the Michelle Wie days, when the teenager broke onto the scene and changed the women's game for good. It might have taken a little longer for the youth movement to take over the PGA Tour, but it seems to be coming.

Don't believe me? Read the following quote about if the Masters was in his mind during that final putt on Sunday.

"So, [I] just want to focus on my game. I got a little bit nervous on the last putt because that's the winning putt. But I just do my own routine, and everything is good."

Did my own routine?! When I was a 14-year-old junior golfer, the only routine I had was making sure to remember to put on my golf shoes.

But obviously Guan is a prodigy. He played in his first European Tour event in April, becoming the youngest player ever invited for an event of that caliber. And Tiger Woods noticed how good his swing was when the kiddo was 12 years old.

So, yeah, a 14-year-old, Augusta National, coming soon to your big-screen TV. Move out of the way, Beau Hossler.

HSBC Champions reminds us there is no golf offseason

If you want a quick refresher that there is no real offseason in the game of golf, take a second to check out the leaderboard at this past week's HSBC Champions event in China.

Ian Poulter rallied to win with an impressive final-round 65. Following him was Jason Dufner, Scott Piercy, Ernie Els, Phil Mickelson and Louis Oosthuizen. Behind that group? Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Martin Kaymer and Bill Haas.

The talk before the week started was the fact that Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy would be skipping out on the event after their made-for-TV matchup. But with all the big names playing well over the weekend, few were hoping that the two biggest names in the game would make an appearance.

Also, how shocking is it that this is only Poulter's second PGA Tour win ever? The guy is an absolute stud down the clutch (65-65 on the weekend at Mission Hills), and this win is just further proof that 2013 might be the breakout year for Poulter at the majors (I think he wins the Masters or the Open next season).

If Poulter figures out a way to close out majors in the coming years, I think he could be a late bloomer who snags three or four before his career winds down.

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