Canadian Bob Panasik has lost his 56-year-old record for being the youngest player to make the cut on the PGA Tour, but he’s certainly not disappointed.
"How can you be disappointed?" he asked by telephone from Windsor, Ont., on Friday night just minutes after 14-year-old Guan Tianlang qualified for weekend play at the Masters. "I had it for 56 years."
Panasik, now 71, was 15 years 8 months when he made the cut at the 1957 Canadian Open at Westmount Golf and Country Club in Kitchener, Ont. It was his first of 14 Canadian Open starts.
Guan of China beat the record by a year and three months, surviving the halfway cut despite being penalized a stroke Friday for slow play.
The slender teenager is at four-over-par 148 and trails leader Jason Day by 10 shots. The Masters has a rule that anyone within 10 shots of the lead after the second round can play the weekend.
"If there was ever a place for it to be broken," Panasik said of his record, "I’m glad it was at the Masters. There’s no bigger stage. The whole world is watching."
Panasik’s achievement was big news in 1957. He was on the front pages of sports sections and his name pops every now and then when a precocious teen comes along and gets into a PGA Tour event.
But the Canadian, who went on to play professionally and is a member of the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame, said he never thought his record would endure more than half a century. "I’m just in awe it lasted so long."
Panasik said advances in equipment technology, the globalization of the game and the incredible work ethic displayed by youngsters such as Guan made his record vulnerable in recent years.
He’s happy for the Chinese teenager. "It’s astounding, it really is," Panasik said. "It’s a remarkable feat and I’m glad to see him play well. That’s quite an accomplishment.
"Think about it," Panasik added. "Look out the window and see what other 14-year-olds are doing. And he achieves this."