Does Guan match other phenoms?
Guan Tianlang stole the headlines at the Masters with his improbable 73 at the ridiculously tender age of 14 on Thursday. The Chinese phenom punctuated his astounding round with a birdie from the fringe on 18. But did all the success go to the kid’s head? "Hopefully I can win the four majors in one year," Guan said.
Hey kid, not even Tiger Woods has done that. But Guan’s impressive play and confident comment got us thinking. How does his performance in his first major event compare to former child prodigies’ first taste of the big stage?
First introduced to the world at age 2 when he putted against Bob Hope on "The Mike Douglas Show," Tiger Woods has wowed golf fans ever since. From playing with Sam Snead and impressing NFL great Fran Tarkenton at age 5, Tiger seemed destined for greatness.
And his moment came in the 1997 Masters.
Less than a year after turning pro, the former Stanford star announced his presence with authority, cruising to a record 12-shot victory at Augusta and becoming the youngest to win the green jacket. He was also the first African-American to win at the Masters.
The win also produced one of the most emotional moments in Tiger’s career. Tough to beat this one.
The high school hoops prodigy was on the cover of Sports Illustrated at 17 with the headline “The Chosen One.” The Cavs made the St. Vincent-St. Mary’s phenom the No. 1 overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft.
LeBron lived up to the hype, and then some, taking home Rookie of the Year honors. But LBJ didn’t get a taste of the playoffs until his third season in the league. He didn’t disappoint there, either.
In his first playoff game against the Wizards, LeBron did what he’s most known for doing — notching triple-doubles. King James went for 32 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists while playing all 48 minutes in the Cavs’ 97-86 win.
The Great One seemed to be born to play hockey. Gretzky fell in love with the game at a young age and never looked back. At age 6, he played for a traveling team that competed against 10-year-olds and though he scored one goal that year, the next year he scored 378.
Despite leading the NHL in points scored his rookie season at age 19 and being a first-team All-Star, Gretzky did not take home top first-year honors because a rule in place at the time prohibited players who played in the WHL from winning rookie of the year. But he still took home league MVP, and the rookie slight didn’t affect his playoff performance.
In three games against the Flyers, Gretzky totaled two goals and one assist, paving the way for arguably the greatest career in NHL history.
Oh, and Wayne should get some extra points for this too.
The free-swinging Nationals star hit the scene as a power-hitting high school catcher and became a national star when he was tabbed as the “Chosen One” by, you guessed it, Sports Illustrated. Washington scooped him up with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 draft, one year after the Nationals took Stephen Strasburg with the top pick.
Last year at age 19, Harper made the big club as an outfielder and became an instant favorite for Rookie of the Year honors. Though he struggled with strikeouts (120), Harper held on to receive top rookie honors.
The Nationals made the playoffs but it wasn’t the best of showing for Harper, who batted .130 in the series and struck out eight times in five games.
But Harper seems to have put those struggles behind him this season, becoming the fourth player in MLB history aged 21 or younger with four home runs through his team's first eight games.
Iron Mike burst on to the heavyweight scene in 1985 and proceeded to annihilate the competition. Under the tutelage legendary trainer Cus D’Amato, Tyson soared up the heavyweight ranks, eventually facing Trevor Berbick for the WBC title in 1986.
Tyson jumped on Berbick early, pummeling him with vicious shots until knocking down the defending champion two times, the second of which ended the fight. At 20 years old, Tyson become the youngest heavyweight champion.