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Golf Australia Express : Issue 7
At 19, Japan’s Ryo Ishikawa has achieved more than many do in a lifetime. Yet this shy teenager remains remarkably humble, a direct reflection of Japanese culture. Is this Bashful Prince about to become a royal pain in the sides of his competitors? In a word, yes. Yes he is. PLAYER THE THE CONTENDER GOLF’S IMMEDIATE future, so it seems, is extremely blessed with up-and-coming talent. Names like McIlroy, Day, Johnson, Fowler and Manassero promise to deliver excitement to fans for many years to come. But there’s another—albeit quieter—contender to the Next Big Thing title, and for many commentators, he’s going to be the best of the lot. Japan’s 19-year-old sensation Ryo Ishikawa is that contender. And his record is already worth writing home about. Ishikawa, or Hanikami Ōji (the Bashful Prince) as he’s known in Japan, turns 20 in September. Yes, you read that correctly—he’s still just 19. So put into perspective just how amazing his first professional win—the 2007 Munsingwear Open KSB Cup— was for a boy of just 15 years. Of course, for Ishikawa that win is almost a distant memory; it was after all nearly a quarter of his life ago. And since then he’s filled the four-year gap in between with some equally memorable moments. Qualifying for the 2009 British Open at Turnberry and then partnering Tom Watson the following year at the historic St Andrews Old Course were certainly two of them. “JAPAN IS STILL IN A DEVASTATING SITUATION. THERE ARE PEOPLE THAT HAVE NO HOMES RIGHT NOW, AND WE ACTUALLY DON’T KNOW HOW LONG IT’S GOING TO TAKE FOR JAPAN TO RECOVER. SO I WOULD JUST LIKE TO GIVE MY SUPPORT TO JAPAN.”