Pro Golf’s Youth Movement

Since 14-year-old Guan Tianlang played his way into the Masters with his win at the Asia-Pacific Championship it seems only fair that a player of similar age should play into the LPGA’s first major of the year. Angel Yin of Arcadia, Calif. qualified for a spot in this week’s LPGA Kraft Nabisco Championship (the “Dinah Shore” for us old-timers) with her win at the Kraft Nabisco Legends Junior Challenge. She shot at 5-under 67. No word on how long the course played for them.

I really don’t know that to think of all this. At some level, I can’t help but think that it makes a mockery of professional golf to allow children to play. On the other hand, if they’ve got the talent …

Fourteen, it seems, it not too young for the ladies tour. Lydia Ko famously won her first professional tournament at fourteen—the New South Wales Open. Then she won the Canadian Women’s Open at age fifteen.

A win by a young teen seems more likely on the women’s side than the men’s, given the earlier maturation. In terms of strength, a fourteen year old boy just doesn’t have a prayer against adult males. A fourteen year old girl, on the other hand, might be much further along.

In any case, I suspect that we are going to see younger and younger players on both sides.

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