Tiger gives Chinese teenager helping hand at Augusta

Guan Tianlang (right) will become the youngest player to ever compete in the Masters.

Story highlights

  • Chinese amateur Guan Tianlang plays back nine of Augusta with Tiger Woods
  • Guan to become the youngest player in Masters history when play begins on Thursday
  • 2011 British Open champion Darren Clarke forced to withdraw due to a hamstring injury
  • Jose Maria Olazabal apologizes to fan after hitting him in the head with a wayward shot

Chinese amateur golfer Guan Tianlang was not even born when Tiger Woods won the Masters for the first time in 1997.

Guan will become the youngest player in Masters history when he tees off on Thursday, eclipsing the mark set by Italy's Matteo Manassero in 2010

And on Monday, the Chinese teenager -- aged 14 years, five months and 14 days -- was given a helping hand by Woods after the 14-time major winner invited Guan to take in the back nine of the fabled Augusta course.

Guan qualified for the year's first major by winning November's Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship, an event designed specifically to unearth global talent.

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It was the third time the teenager had played with world No. 1 Woods, with the pair joined on their Monday practice round by big-hitting American Dustin Johnson.

"He gives me advice and I will say every time I play with him I feel a lot better and give myself confidence," Guan told the PGA Tour's official website.

"I'm not going to push myself too hard. I'm trying to just enjoy my game, play my best and hopefully play a good score."

Woods, who goes into this weekend's tournament as favorite to clinch a fifth Masters crown, is pleased his legacy has helped created a new generation of players.

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"It's frightening to think that he was born after I won my first Masters," the 37-year-old said after winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational a few weeks ago.

"It's exciting that I've inspired kids to play and not just here in the States, but obviously in China and around the world."

At the other end of the age scale, Northern Irishman Darren Clarke, aged 44, was hoping to take part in his 12th Masters.

But the 2011 British Open champion has been forced to withdraw with the same hamstring injury which kept him out of last week's Valero Texas Open.

Clarke was one of Jose Maria Olazabal's vice captains when he led Europe to a stunning Ryder Cup victory against the United States at Medinah in September.

Meanwhile Spain's Olazabal, a two-time champion at Augusta, hit a wayward drive during the first day of practice which left a male spectator with blood pouring from his head.

Olazabal, the last European to wear the green jacket, immediately apologized and offered the stricken fan a signed glove.

Woods back on top of the world