Notebook: Teenager Guan accepts sponsor invite to play Byron Nelson

Guan Tianlang
Getty Images
Guan Tianlang will make the HP Byron Nelson Championship his third PGA Tour this spring.
By
Doug Ferguson
Associated Press

Series: PGA Tour

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Guan Tianlang isn't done with the PGA Tour just yet.

Guan accepted a sponsor's exemption into the HP Byron Nelson Championship in mid-May. That will be his third PGA Tour event in a span of six weeks, more golf than Tiger Woods will have played in the last month or so. Guan made history at the Masters as the youngest to play all four rounds on the PGA Tour, and he made the cut in Zurich Classic last week in New Orleans.

Still to come is qualifying for the U.S. Open.

A DIFFERENT QUESTION: A popular question to most players at the Masters was about Guan Tianlang, and what players were doing at age 14. Bubba Watson heard the question again in New Orleans last week and decided to turn it around, with a dose of perspective.

''Let's got a different route,'' he said. ''If you looked at every sport through time, everybody has gotten better - bigger, better, stronger, fast, no matter sport it is. In golf, there are kids nowadays that are learning at a younger age. They're working out at a younger age. They're eating better. They know what to practice because they've watched Tiger Woods. ... So you can just see it.''

He then mentioned the LPGA Tour, where the players seem to be getting younger. And he mentioned LeBron James, who went to the NBA straight from high school.

''So you look at every person in sports, it's growing that way,'' Watson said. ''Pretty soon they're going to be younger, and 20 years down the road, it's probably going to be younger than 14. But records are already broken.''

RUB OF THE GREENS: For a golf club that strives for perfection, Quail Hollow has its hands tied this week by Mother Nature.

Due mainly to an unusually cool spring, the home of the Wells Fargo Championship has struggled so mightily with its greens that two of them (Nos. 8 and 10) have had to be resodded in recent weeks, and tournament officials have asked players to hit only one shot into Nos. 12 and 13 during practice round.

The rest of the greens are spotty at best, most with several patches of brown. And it's not just looks. Some players say the greens are running at different speeds.

''It's tough to see,'' said Webb Simpson, the U.S. Open champion who lives at Quail Hollow. ''I think their biggest challenge is going to try to get it to be the same firmness and speed of the other greens.''

The practice green might have been in the best shape of all, and putts were bouncing more than they were rolling.

''The good news is everybody's playing the same golf course,'' Simpson said. ''So there will be no excuses this week.''

NEXT QUESTION: Maybe it's time to stop asking Jack Nicklaus if he thinks Tiger Woods will break his record of 18 professional majors.

An answer last week during a Q&A at the Junior Invitational at Sage Valley explains why.

Nicklaus for years has said essentially the same thing. He thinks Woods will break his record, but that Woods still has to do it. Golfweek magazine was there when the question came up again. The answer didn't change - ''I still think Tiger will break my record,'' he said - except for what Nicklaus tacked on to the end of it.

''If I said anything different, there would be headlines in the newspaper tomorrow,'' he said.

Can you imagine?

DIVOTS: The U.S. Open received a record 9,860 entries this year, smashing the mark of 9,086 for the 2009 U.S. Open at Bethpage Black. The U.S. Open returns to Merion this year for the first time since 1981. ... Hideki Matsuyama, the two-time Asia-Pacific Amateur champion (and 2-for-2 in making the cut at the Masters) won the Tsuruya Open last week on the Japan Golf Tour in just his second start as a pro. Matsuyama is now No. 108 in the world, 10 spots ahead of Ryo Ishikawa. ... Billy Horschel winning and D.A. Points finishing second put both of them inside the top 50 in the world, and knocked Matteo Manassero out of The Players Championship. Manassero would have to win at Quail Hollow this week to get into the richest tournament in golf. ... Nassau native Georgette Rolle has been given a sponsor's exemption into the Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic next month at Atlantis Resort. Rolle is a graduate assistant coach for the men's and women's golf teams at Texas Southern, and she teaches at a First Tee program in Houston. She also hosts a two-day junior camp in The Bahamas once a year.

STAT OF THE WEEK: Tiger Woods has averaged $97,126 per round from official events in his PGA Tour career.

FINAL WORD: ''He was responsible for all the bogeys I made. I made the birdies.'' – Angel Cabrera, on having Angel Jr. caddie for him at the Masters.