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Golf Australia Express : Issue 7
EXCITEMENT MACHINE: WATCH RYO ISHIKAWA EN ROUTE TO A FINAL ROUND 58 AT LAST YEAR’S THE CROWNS TOURNAMENT. HEY, WE’D BE JUMPING AROUND LIKE THAT AFTER THE FRONT NINE. Winning four times on the elite Japan Tour in 2009 as a 17-year-old and becoming the youngest player ever to reach the Top 50 in world rankings was another. Maybe representing the Internationals at the 2009 Presidents Cup as a captain’s pick could be thrown into the mix, too. But surely shooting a tournament-winning final round 58 at The Crowns last year—the lowest score ever recorded on a major tour— takes the memorable cake. That faultless round consisted of 12 birdies and six pars. We’ve mentioned he’s still a teen, right? Not surprisingly, Ishikawa possesses a poetic swing and an all-round game— although he can let himself down with the flat stick at times. You know how eager these youngsters tend to be. But there’s another weapon in Ishikawa’s arsenal that sets himself apart from the rest of the young pack. Ishikawa remains incredibly humble. Not Tiger-humble, but truly humble. And it’s that strong sense of humility that will likely allow Ishikawa to achieve even more remarkable feats during his career. That sense of charity was no more on show than following the devastating Japan earthquake in March. Ishikawa pledged to donate all of his 2011 tour earnings plus another ¥100,000 for every birdie he made towards the relief effort. It’s no wonder Rory McIlroy calls Ryo his “hero”. Ishikawa’s current PGA season has thus far, however, been rather unremarkable, with a fourth placed finish at the WGC Bridgestone Invitational a couple weeks back his best result. Not to mention a horrid showing at the PGA Championship last week, where he missed the cut with opening rounds of 85 and 72. (Hey, Tiger, Jason Day and world No.4 Martin Kaymer all missed out on the weekend, too.) But looking back at his impressive start to a no doubt storied career, let’s just put his latest season down to growing pains. OTG