Ikeda shaken by TV images before golf tournament

Yuta Ikeda received an e-mail in the middle of the night about a

massive earthquake in Japan, followed by a devastating tsunami that

slammed the eastern coast near the city where he went to


He spent the next several hours watching television and trying

to make phone calls to check on his family and friends.

And then it was time to tee off Friday in a World Golf


”It was very difficult,” Ikeda said after his second round at

the Cadillac Championship. ”The tough part … the cell phones

still are not working in Japan. So I made many calls, but everyone

I haven’t been able to contact. It doesn’t meant they are accounted

for. It just means I haven’t been able to contact them to make sure

they are OK.”

The three Japanese players at Doral – Iketa, Ryo Ishikawa and

Hiroyuki Fujita – were trying to grasp the 8.9 magnitude quake that

left hundreds dead or missing as rescuers were still trying to get

to areas of Sandei, the coastal city closest to the quake’s


All three lives at least 250 miles away, although it was no less


”The magnitude of 5.0 where my family lives is still a very big

earthquake,” Ishikawa said. ”So I just hope that everybody else

around will be safe.”

Ishikawa checks the news when he wakes up each day, and this was

a stunner. He at least was able to get in touch with his family and

learn they were all right before he completed his opening round

Friday morning, a 7-under 65 that put him one shot behind.

”I received a communication from my father, and the message

was, ‘Focus on your golf, we are fine, do what you need to


In the second round that afternoon, however, Ishikawa shot a 76

on the TPC Blue Monster course to fall six shots behind. While he

said it was difficult not to think of the earthquake in the

morning, he said that wasn’t an issue in the second round.

”It was simply that the Blue Monster decided to be what it’s

known to be,” he said.

Fujita once played a tournament each year in Miyagi. He said he

has friends near Sendai, though none with whom he keeps in touch.

He saw the havoc on TV and couldn’t believe it.

”It’s not in this world,” he said through Japanese reporter

Sonoka Funakoshi.

He couldn’t reach his family when his tee time neared, so he

headed out to the Blue Monster and tried to concentrate on his

game. After he finished up the first round, he learned his family

was fine.

Ikeda was the most visibly affected, and he initially told an

interpreter he didn’t want to talk about it before relenting.

”It’s tough,” he said. ”It’s my second hometown. I was born

and raised in Chiba, but I went to school in Sendai and to see what

you had to see on TV was very difficult to take in.

”I’m very, very concerned.”

Ishikawa, the 19-year-old sensation who already has nine Japan

Golf Tour wins, is the most familiar to players at Doral from

playing in majors and the Presidents Cup two years ago.

He said Ernie Els and Vijay Singh were among those who came up

to him to check on his family. He played with Rickie Fowler, whose

mother’s side is of Japanese heritage.

”I made sure his family was OK,” Fowler said. ”But it’s not

like we wanted to talk about tsunamis all day.”

Ishikawa still doesn’t know the extent of the devastation in

Japan, where he receives the kind of celebrity treatment that Tiger

Woods gets. But he was surrounded by more reporters than usual,

which told him everything.

”I realize with the extent of coverage here, it much be a very

grave situation in Japan,” Ishikawa said. ”I tried my best to

block everything out, but as you can imagine, it’s a tough