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Tiger Woods preps with 14-year-old

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Guan Tianlang, a 14-year-old Chinese secondary year-two student, was not trying to get Tiger Wood’s autograph when he approached him at Augusta National golf course yesterday. Instead, he was there to talk golf. 

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Fourteen-year-old Guan Tianlang plays a practice round with four-time Masters champion Tiger Woods on the Augusta National golf course. The tournament opens on Thursday when Guan will become the youngest participant in the history of the event. AFP

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Guan practices with Tiger Woods

The best golfers in the world are at Augusta, Georgia this week, preparing for the Masters championship which begins on Thursday.

Tiger Woods is there, of course, hoping to win his 15th Grand Slam Championship. Yesterday, he was practicing at the Masters driving range when he was approached by a young Chinese boy named Guan Tianlang.

The 14-year-old secondary year-two student (Matayom 2 in Thailand) was not trying to get the superstar's autograph, however. He probably has one already. Instead, he was there to talk golf.

As the Asia-Pacific amateur champion, Guan is set to become the youngest player ever to tee off in the Masters, replacing Italy's Matteo Manassero who was 16 when he played in 2010.

Woods, who previously played with Guan in a pro-amateur event, is clearly impressed with the young golfer and quickly invited him along for an afternoon back-nine practice round.

"He told me a lot," Guan said after the round. "We really enjoyed it on the golf course."

"Every time I play with him, I feel a lot better and give myself some confidence and it's very good," he said.

Woods is not the only former Masters champion to play with Guan this week. Guan spent yesterday morning with two-time champion Ben Crenshaw. Today, he’s playing with two-time champion Tom Watson. On Wednesday, he's playing the Par-3 Contest with three-time champion Nick Faldo.

What are his chances when he begins play on Thursday? Well, at 5 feet eight inches (1.7272) tall and 125 pounds (57 kilograms), he does have a big disadvantage on a long, difficult golf course like Augusta National. He is unlikely to hit the ball much beyond 250 yards (229 metres), about 100 yards shorter than his older, more experienced competitors

Guan says he is going to take Ben Crenshaw’s advice and have fun – this time. As for the future, he says his goal is to win four grand slams in one calendar year, something Tiger Woods has never done.

Adapted from AFP and other agency stories.

participant – someone who takes part in something ผู้เข้าร่วม
Grand Slam – one of the four major golf tournaments, including the the Masters, the US Open, British Open and the PGA การแข่งขันชิงแชมป์รายการใหญ่
driving range – a place where people can practise hitting golf balls สถานที่ฝึกซ้อมกีฬากอล์ฟ
approach – to move toward someone and speak to them about something เข้าหา
secondary (school) – a school for young people, usually between the ages of 11 and 16 or 18 ชั้นมัธยมศึกษา
autograph – a signature, especially of a famous person ลายเซ็นต์
amateur – of sports or activities in which people take part for enjoyment, not as a job สมัครเล่น
set to – ready to do something พร้อม
replace – to put a new person or thing in the place of someone or something แทน
impressed – admiring someone or something very much because of an unusually good quality or achievement ประทับใจ
invite – to ask somebody formally to go somewhere or do something เชิญ
confidence – being certain of your abilities or of having trust in people, plans, or the future ความมั่นใจ
disadvantage – something that makes someone or something less effective, successful or attractive ข้อเสียเปรียบ ข้อด้อย
competitor – a person, team or company that is competing against others ผู้แข่งขัน, คู่แข่ง
advice – an opinion or a suggestion about what somebody should do in a particular situation  คำแนะนำ
goal – aim; purpose เป้าหมาย จุดมุ่งหมาย
calendar year – the year beginning in January and ending in December

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