The Augusta National Golf Club cannot seem to help itself, stumbling awkwardly last week as it staged another Masters. The concern isn’t the misfortune of Tiger Woods on Friday, his wedge shot on the 15th hole hitting the flag and ricocheting into the water, resulting in a bogey instead of a likely birdie. His troubles then multiplied, a faulty drop eventually leading to a two-stroke penalty, though even now there’s some confusion about whether he violated the rules or not.
All that, as Woods gamely acknowledged, is part of golf. So, too, is slow play part of the professional tour at least, many players having expressed their frustration at colleagues dawdling.
Yet golf officials hardly have cracked down. That is, until Friday at Augusta, Guan Tianlang of China receiving a one-stroke penalty for slow play. Those who follow the game closely noted that it had been since the mid-1990s that a player had been docked so. In this case, officials appeared to be picking on the little guy.
Guan, after all, is 14 years old, turning in the remarkable achievement of making the cut at his first Masters. Years of indulging the pros, and now a kid from faraway gets rapped? The moment passed quickly, Adam Scott winning in stirring fashion with clutch putts late on Sunday. Yet again Augusta seemed in its own small world.