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China's teenage sensation aiming for grand slam

ESPN staff
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Guan Tianlang has set some lofty goals for his career © Getty Images
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Teenage Chinese amateur sensation Guan Tianlang hopes to one day achieve something Tiger Woods has never managed - win golf's four major championships in a single season.

Fourteen-year-old Guan is currently preparing to make his major debut at The Masters next month, after he earned an invitation to the storied event by winning the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship in November.

Guan, who missed the cut at last year's China Open on his European Tour debut, will become the youngest player in the tournament's history by two years when he starts his opening round at Augusta National - beating Matteo Manassero's record.

The Chinese is targetting bigger and better goals for the remainder of his career, however - hoping to achieve a feat none of the game's greats have ever managed.

"I have a dream since I was a little boy," Guan told AFP. "I wish, one day, I can win all four majors in one year."

Guan acknowledges that this year's Masters may prove a stern test for him, believing it will be difficult to match Manassero's feat of making the cut on debut.

He said: "It's an honour for me to be able to play with the best golfers in the world. To me, the only goal is to enjoy the event and give my best. And of course, if I can make the cut, that would be even better.

"There are many parts I need to improve including the distance, the accuracy of the long irons and fairway woods, as well as my short game. I will work on all of them and hope to play better."

The youngster has yet to decide when he will turn professional, but is still considering the possibility of playing collegiate golf in the United States once he completes his schooling. He is not scared by the prospect of living in another country, even one with so many cultural differences to his homeland.

"I have spent summers practising, learning and also participating in golf events in the US since I was six years old," he said. "I have been to both the West and the East and those experiences helped me a lot.

"I believe if I live in the US one day, I will be very comfortable as the country is not strange to me at all. But for now, I will stay in China, live as a normal kid and finish my school."

On the PGA Tour, Jordan Spieth became the youngest player to earn full PGA Tour membership after the 19-year-old's seventh-placed finish at the Tampa Bay Championship - coupled with the previous week's runner-up finish in Puerto Rico - earned him the money required for a season-long exemption.

"I'm just extremely happy," Spieth told the official PGA Tour website. "It's nice to actually have a schedule to plot out and know where I'm going to be a couple of weeks in advance."

In the world rankings, Australian Geoff Ogilvy is facing the prospect of Masters agony once more - after dropping down to 50th in the list. The top 50 in the week preceding the first major of the year, not already in the field, all earn an invitation to the event.

Ogilvy narrowly missed out on an invite at the end of 2012 after sitting 51st in the year-end rankings.

World rankings: 1. Rory McIlroy (NIR), 2. Tiger Woods (USA), 3. Luke Donald (ENG), 4. Brandt Snedeker (USA), 5. Justin Rose (ENG), 6. Louis Ooisthuizen (RSA), 7. Adam Scott (AUS), 8. Steve Stricker (USA), 9. Matt Kuchar (USA), 10. Phil Mickelson (USA), 11. Ian Poulter (ENG), 12. Lee Westwood (ENG), 13. Bubba Watson (USA), 14. Keegan Bradley (USA), 15. Graeme McDowell (NIR), 16. Sergio Garcia (ESP), 17. Charl Schwartzel (RSA), 18. Jason Dufner (USA), 19. Webb Simpson (USA), 20. Peter Hanson (SWE).

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