When 14-year-old golf prodigy Tianlang Guan became the youngest golfer to make the cut at a major championship during April’s Masters, he was identified as an anomaly, whose game was ahead of his peers. At the time Tiger Woods took a liking to Guan, who said he grew up watching Woods win majors. Turns out Guan's merely the first wave in a coming surge of Chinese golfers that are being groomed to claim Tiger's golf throne.
It’s not by accident either. As usual, China is challenging the theory of nurture vs. nature. About two years ago, I became familiar with the term Tiger-parenting. Apparently, it's a parenting style which has become common among strict Chinese parents who seek perfection from their children. Similar stories of China’s intense training regimens for Olympic athletes are well-known, but by all accounts it appears they’ve also begun raising a generation of golfers who can potentially knock down Jack and Tiger’s records and dominate the rankings.
The childhoods of kids like eight-year-old Xie Chengfeng represent the growing pressure parents in China are putting on their kids to become elite PGA Tour golfers.
Via New York Times:
Nearly every day of the year, when he’s not competing in a tournament, Xie works out in the morning, using the punching bag, medicine balls and bull whip (to strengthen his wrists) in the second-floor living room overlooking a quiet lagoon. Then he’s off to the members-only driving range for two hours of training, hitting balls with every club in his bag. After lunch, Xie works on chipping and putting before playing a round on one of Mission Hills’ 22 courses (it bills itself as the world’s largest golf club). Nearly every other activity is designed to benefit Xie’s golf game: piano lessons to strengthen his fingers; math tutorials to help him calculate distances, wind speeds and green breaks; and a daily English class to prepare him for his eventual arrival on the PGA Tour.