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Pattaya Daily News

23 October 2009 :: 10:10:00 am 6496

Japanese Golf Sensation Ryo Ishikawa To Battle For Asia’s Royal Trophy Defense

Asian golf phenomenon seventeen-year-old Ryo Ishikawa, fresh from his sixth professional career victory at the Fujisankei Classic, has been nominated by Asian Team Captain Naomichi ‘Joe’ Ozaki for Asia’s defense of the Royal Trophy against what is certain to be a determined European challenge at the fourth edition of the Royal Trophy. The continental competition played between Asia and Europe will be held at the exclusive Amata Spring Country Club 7,470-yard layout in Chonburi, Thailand on January 8-10, 2010.
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Ishikawa is arguably the most exciting and promising young player to surface in the golf scene since a certain Tiger Woods. The young man, better known as the ‘Shy Prince’ as a result of his movie star ‘good looks’ and unassuming demeanor, first made golf history winning a professional title at the age of 15, becoming the youngest ever to achieve the feat. Ishikawa then consolidated his position as a player with the potential to change the future of golf becoming the youngest player in history to turn professional, the youngest ever to break into the world’s top 100 and the youngest golfer to win a title playing as a professional. His tremendously precocious achievements earned him invitations to confront the world’s best at the golfing holy grounds of Augusta National at the Masters – the youngest golfer to do so in over fifty years, the Open Championship – where he became the youngest ever to compete at the oldest Major and the PGA Championship.

His astonishing success at the Fujisankei Classic earlier this month in Yamanashi, where he prevailed over the field by a resounding five strokes, further consolidated Ishikawa’s position as a player of unrivalled potential and the top golfer in the Japan Tour.

“I am very excited and honored to be selected again by our great Asian Team Captain Joe Ozaki to represent Asia at the next edition of the Royal Trophy. To play for the Asian Continent is definitely of the utmost significance and it is with tremendous pride that I will wear our Asian uniform,” said Ishikawa, already the winner of three Japan Tour titles in 2009.

The fourth edition of the Royal Trophy will mark Ishikawa’s second appearance at the Championship. In January 2009 in his debut he rocketed the Matches attracting the attendance of thousands of loyal fans, including huge galleries of teenage girls who followed the young star’s every shot and move from his very first warm-up shot of the day at the driving range to his last putt on the eighteenth green.

In that fist appearance at the Royal Trophy, Ishikawa was given the tremendous responsibility of leading the Asian Team by playing the first match on all three days, pairing with Japanese highly-accomplished veteran Toru Taniguchi on the foursomes and four-ball matches. The pair, featuring twenty three years of difference in age, managed to secure a halve on the Saturday matches. On the next day Ishikawa, untainted by the great pressure, proved his full worth battling in the singles against European Ryder Cupper Soren Hansen, seventeen years his senior, to secure a half point for Asia. The teenager, arguably Japan’s biggest celebrity, brought that magnificent match to a magical conclusion with a courageous three-wood putt from the fringe on the eighteenth hole which would end up two feet from the cup securing a par for charismatic young golfer, and producing a ‘football-like’ passionate and rapturous response from the monumental galleries.

“Playing for Asia at the Royal Trophy last January was a great experience. We had tremendous support from the fans and the atmosphere was really electrifying. To win against Europe is a great achievement and is something that all of Asia can be proud of,” said the winner of the Japan Tour’s Mizuno Open Yomiuri Classic earlier this year.

“I have continued to gain greater experience this year by playing at the Majors and I am confident that I will be ready to represent Asia well at the Royal Trophy. We all know that the Europeans will be fully committed to defeat us this time around but I am very confident about my game and about the capability of our Asian Team.

We will be playing in our Continent, we have a great Captain leading us and we now have the added confidence of knowing that we can beat them. I will do my utmost to secure as many points for Asia as possible,” said the confident teenager.

“I believe that knowing the golf course well, being familiar with the general playing conditions and being comfortable with the match-play format will help me play my best golf at the Royal Trophy. We will fight hard and compete fiercely to win the Royal Trophy again and I hope all the fans will come out once again and support our Asian effort. We have a tough job ahead but I am committed to getting it done,” concluded Ishikawa, who is one of the most photographed persons in Japan.

Asia’s convincing defeat of the European Team at the third edition of the Royal Trophy was clear notice that Asian professional golf has come of age. The Asian players not only produced golf of the highest quality but demonstrated a level of determination and passion only commonly seen in golf at the Majors and the Ryder Cup. The severe European defeat while led by two-time Masters champion and Ryder Cup legend Jose Maria Olazabal was a shock to the golf establishment, and a painful experience the Europeans will not want to re-live. The fourth edition of the Royal Trophy will prove to be even more crucial, as a European Team facing the Americans at the Ryder Cup in September 2010 carrying the baggage of two consecutive loses to Asia is certain to severely damage European confidence and boost American determination.

“I am very pleased to reappoint Ryo Ishikawa to our Asian Team for the fourth edition of the Royal Trophy. The young man has demonstrated that he is very capable of playing golf of the very highest caliber and of dealing with pressure situations very well. He was a very valuable member of our Asian Team when we defeated Europe earlier this year and I am confident that he will make a great contribution to our efforts to defeat Europe for a second consecutive time,” said Ozaki, Asian Team Captain and holder of 35 professional career titles.

“I have given great consideration to the selection of our players for the upcoming edition of the Royal Trophy and Ryo Ishikawa’s early selection is a result of this in-depth consideration. He is a player of tremendous talent, great technical ability and he is a true competitor and champion. He will add great value to our Asian Team,” concluded Ozaki.

“It is great news for the Royal Trophy to see Ryo Ishikawa nominated for the Asian Team. We are certain to have record-breaking galleries and an unbelievable atmosphere at the fourth edition of the Championship. The Tournament infrastructure is being prepared for the largest crowds to ever attend a golf tournament anywhere in Asia and to establish a most enjoyable experience for the spectators and patrons,” said a Royal Trophy spokesperson.

Ishikawa is the third player to be nominated for the Asian Team, following the appointment of ten-time career title winner Prayad Marksaeng and Asian Tour number one Thongchai Jaidee, both Thai golfing heros. European Team Captain and five-time Major winner Seve Ballesteros is presently considering his European Team line-up. The Principal Award for the winning Continent is stewardship of the sixteen-kilogram solid-silver Royal Trophy, graciously donated by His Majesty the King of Thailand.

Reporter : Jack Rames   Photo : Internet   Category : Sports News

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