Miguel Angel Jimenez, he of practice range warm-up fame, had some pretty interesting comments for Ye Wo-cheng who was given a sponsor's exemption for this week's European Masters.
Jimenez criticized the tournament and, if you read between the lines, the kid's parents for letting Ye into the event.
Here were a few of his quotes in GolfDigest:
"It is nice to see that golf is interesting no matter what the age but for me, a 13-year-old competing against professionals is a little a bit too young."
"People want to start things too early and a 13-year-old should be playing alongside other 13-year-olds and not players averaging 33 years of age."
"No doubt the sponsor wants publicity for the tournament but then it seems you have to go looking for under-age players to promote yourself. I'm sorry, this should not be allowed."
"They should not be pushing kids his age too hard as it could have a disastrous effect on their careers. I hope he enjoys himself this week but then I saw him hitting practice balls this morning and he looked very nervous, and he should not be in that position."
One of Ye's playing partners, Mathias Gronberg, does not share the sentiments of Jimenez.
"It is where the game is at the present time and, as golfers, we are in the entertainment business and it's a sport there for the crowds. "I am sure there will be hundreds of thousands of Chinese people that will tune into the golf on TV this week just to watch and follow Ye. So it would be absolutely silly not to market that opportunity."
This is tough because I kind of see both sides. I agree with Jimenez that kids should be kids and play against kids and if you qualify, fine, whatever, but he didn't. He was given an exemption by the tournament instead.
Maybe the European Tour and PGA Tour should put an age limit on these things but then you run the risk of eliminating a great story like Guan Tianlang or even a Jordan Spieth who competed at the
But the limit would be more to protect the Tours from themselves. Gronberg is correct, it would be silly not to market that kid but when you start talking about the potential exploitation of a child (really, a child) to sell tickets and ads, that's a little scary.
Jimenez is 9 under, one back of the leaders after two rounds. Ye is 12 over and missed the cut.