Teenage golfer Ishikawa not fazed by struggles
Ryo Ishikawa has displayed a level of maturity beyond his years
in handling success. Now the 19-year-old Japanese golfer is showing
he can take the disappointments with the same cool composure.
Ishikawa won three times on the Japan Tour last season and has
nine wins overall at home but has struggled this season with no
wins. He failed to make the cut in his last two tournaments,
including the Japan Golf Tour Championship where he carded the
worst score of his professional career – a 12-over 83 in the first
When asked of his recent struggles, Ishikawa had a quick
”I knew that question was coming,” Ishikawa said on Tuesday at
the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan. ”It would be strange if
it wasn’t asked.”
Ishikawa has an exemption for the U.S. Open, which starts on
June 16 in Washington, and hopes to get his game straightened out
”Most of the problems stem from my putting and short game,”
Ishikawa said. ”There is no tournament this week so I’ll have some
good practice and hopefully I can put these past two tournaments
Ishikawa also missed the cut at the Transitions Championship and
Arnold Palmer Invitational but his problems seem minor compared to
those of his idol Tiger Woods. Woods withdrew after only nine holes
last month at The Players Championship and fell out of the top 10
rankings for the first time in 14 years.
Ishikawa said it was difficult to watch Woods struggle with his
”I’ve always looked at him from the perspective of a fan,”
Ishikawa said. ”It’s difficult for me to take this news as another
player. I sure hope he recovers. I’ve always been awed by his
ability and skill.”
Known earlier in his career as ”Bashful Prince,” Ishikawa has
become the face of golf in Japan. He played 34 times last year,
including one span of 20 tournaments in 22 weeks, because the tour
and sponsors lean so heavily on him.
He won his first Japan Tour event as a 15-year-old amateur, won
the money title at 17, and last year became the first player to
shoot 58 on a major tour.
He announced in March that he will be donating all of his 2011
tour earnings, plus an additional $1,200 for every birdie he makes
during the year, to the Japan earthquake relief efforts.
Ishikawa was playing in the Cadillac Championship at Doral on
March 11 when he awoke to news of the earthquake and tsunami.
”I want to do anything I can to help,” Ishikawa said. ”I
visited an evacuee center and will make another trip up to the
region in July.”
No Japanese golfer has ever won a major. Ishikawa has said his
dream is to win The Masters, and some in Japan feel he should play
more on the U.S. PGA Tour to improve his game.
”At the moment, I don’t feel a great urgency to go the U.S.
permanently,” Ishikawa said. ”Just because a player stays in
Japan doesn’t mean he can’t win a major.”