Ishikawa to give 2011 golf earnings to victims

By Doug FergusonMarch 31, 2011, 5:44 am

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Ryo Ishikawa first made people take notice because of his golf. He won his first Japan Golf 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.

His latest eye-opening feat brought attention to his heart.

Wanting to do his part to help victims of the earthquake and tsunami that devastated his native Japan, Ishikawa decided to donate his entire tournament earnings this year – plus a bonus for every birdie he makes – toward relief efforts.

“I don’t view this as pressure to perform, but it will instead be extra motivation for me,” Ishikawa said Friday in an email to The Associated Press. “I always believe in myself, but because I am playing for the people of Japan, I feel like I will be playing with a greater purpose this year.”

Ishikawa, who at 19 already has nine wins on the Japan Golf Tour, was third on Japan’s money list last year with just over $1.82 million.

He also has pledged about $1,200 (100,000 yen) for every birdie. He led the Japanese tour last year with 341 birdies, which would amount to over $400,000.

Even in a sport driven by charity, Ishikawa’s generosity caught the attention of his colleagues.

“It’s the most unbelievable gesture ever, isn’t it?” Geoff Ogilvy said Friday. “I saw it fly past last night on Twitter and I thought, ‘Ah, that’s nice.’ About five minutes later I said, ‘Hang on a minute. All his prize money?’ Which is ridiculous for anybody, but for someone who’s 19 to have that level of thought for others … it’s amazing.”

Ishikawa was playing the Cadillac Championship at Doral on March 11 when he awoke to news of the earthquake and tsunami, and saw horrific images of the destruction. He finished off a 65 in the first round, then struggled the rest of the week.

He missed the cut at the Transitions Championship and Arnold Palmer Invitational, then headed to Augusta, Ga., this week to meet up with his family and get ready for the Masters. Ishikawa is from Saitama, about 300 miles away from the area hardest hit by the tsunami.

Ishikawa said he has spent most of his money on making life easier for himself, from building a short-game practice facility near his house to buying fitness equipment.

“I feel fortunate to be in a position to afford such things, but I know that my success is a result of the support of so many people,” he said in the email. “While golf is my profession, and I want to have a long and successful career, there are things that are more important. And the people of Japan are dealing with life and death issues as a result of the earthquake and tsunami.

“I feel it is my turn to give back in whatever way I can to support the people who have been so supportive of me.”

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 stretch of 20 tournaments in 22 weeks, because the tour and sponsors lean so heavily on him.

Ogilvy is among those who understand the level of attention Ishikawa generates in Japan. He was playing the Taheiyo Masters toward the end of 2007 when he saw a horde of photographers rushing across the practice green, cameras over their heads to snap pictures. Ogilvy asked who they were following and was told, “This is the kid who’s going to save the Japanese Tour.”

“He’s probably close to being the most famous sportsman in Japan,” Ogilvy said. “He’s the Tiger Woods of Japan. And a lot of people will see what he’s done. It’s another sign of how grown up he is.”

Ishikawa played for the International team in the Presidents Cup two years ago in San Francisco. He went 3-2, with the two losses coming against the undefeated tandem of Woods and Steve Stricker.

“I spent a week with him at the Presidents Cup,” Ogilvy said. “You don’t learn a person in a week. But it doesn’t surprise me. You spend time with him and realize that he’s a good guy. This isn’t a PR thing. He must feel very strongly about his country.”

Word of his gesture began to filter through the golf industry Thursday night and Friday.

“Ryo’s unselfish pledge to donate all his worldwide prize money this year … is an indication of the maturity this 19-year-old has demonstrated on and off the golf course since he burst onto the international golf stage,” PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said.

“That’s unbelievable. I haven’t heard of anybody doing that,” Stricker said from the Houston Open. “It’s a great testament to what kind of kid he is. It obviously touches him pretty deeply.”

“It warmed my heart that he is the type of character we thought he was, and he continues to display it,” said Gerald Goodman, who offered Ishikawa his first PGA Tour exemption two years ago at the Transitions Championship. “Athletes from Japan are rallying to help their country. But to give it all? That’s something.”

The hardest part for Ishikawa was being patient in deciding what he should do. Jumbo Ozaki, who is to be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in May, suggested that Japanese players donate 20 percent of their earnings.

Ishikawa decided to go even further.

“I wanted to help right away, but I discussed with my staff and family over the past three weeks and came up with the idea,” Ishikawa said. “A number of other Japanese athletes announced their support right away, and I felt a bit of pressure of jump in quickly. But I wanted to take the time to figure out how I could help best.

“I believed right away that it was the right thing to do and am very motivated to not only raise money for the people of Japan, but hopefully also encourage them as the country recovers.”

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Angela hits Sergio in stride on field at Superdome

By Grill Room TeamDecember 18, 2017, 3:22 pm

Sergio and Angela Garcia's super 2017 keeps getting more ... Super ... Dome. (+1 awful blog lede.)

The couple started the year with Sergio's win at the Masters, then embarked on a whirlwind green jacket media tour, then kicked off El Clasico, then attended Wimbledon, then got married, then announced they were expecting their first child ...

2017 Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

And now, they're throwing each other passes on the New Orleans Saints' home turf at the Superdome.

Man, it must be so cool do that at the Silverdome. ... ... ... I'm sorry, it is the Superdome, brothers.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 1, Justin Thomas

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 1:00 pm

He won a major, captured the FedExCup and was named the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year. It should come as no surprise that Justin Thomas holds the top spot on our Newsmakers list for 2017.

Thomas entered the year ranked outside the top 20, and few might have pegged him for a transcendent campaign. But he kicked off January with a win in Hawaii, added another before leaving the Aloha State and never looked back.

Thomas’ seminal moment came in August when he captured the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow for his breakthrough major title. One month after greeting Jordan Spieth behind the final green at Royal Birkdale, this time it was Thomas’ turn to have friends stick around to snap pictures with the trophy that signaled his arrival among golf’s upper echelon.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

In addition to racking up the hardware – five in total, including the inaugural CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in his first start of the new wraparound season – Thomas dazzled with style. His runaway win at the Sony Open included an opening-round 59, and his third-round 63 at Erin Hills marked the first time anyone had ever shot 9 under on a U.S. Open venue.

Thomas’ consistency was rewarded at East Lake, when a runner-up finish at the Tour Championship netted him the season-long title and $10 million prize. It was in the subsequent press conference where he shared the goals list he had written into his cell phone in February, having ticked off nearly every one. It showed a dedicated attention to detail as well the tactical approach with which Thomas had steered his rapid ascent.

Heading into a new year, he’s now very clearly entrenched as one of the world’s best. And as his career progresses, it’s likely we’ll look back at 2017 as the point where Thomas first transformed great potential into eye-popping results.

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Record Round No. 1: 59 at the Sony Open

Article: Thomas becomes youngest player to shoot 59

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Record Round No. 2: 63 at the U.S. Open

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Mr. Major (and win No. 4): PGA champ at Quail Hollow

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Best of: Justin Thomas and Jillian Wisniewski

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 12:30 pm

Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge

By Associated PressDecember 17, 2017, 11:36 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. closed with a 12-under 60 for a three-shot victory in their debut at the PNC Father/Son Challenge.

The Cabreras opened with a 59 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and were challenged briefly by the defending champions, David Duval and Nick Karavites, in the scramble format Sunday. The Argentines went out in 30, and they had a two-shot lead with Cabrera's son came within an inch of chipping in for eagle on the final hole.

They finished at 25-under 199 for a three-shot victory over Duval and Karavites, and Bernhard Langer and Jason Langer. The Langer team won in 2014.

Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara tied for fourth at 21 under with Jerry Pate and Wesley Pate.

Cabrera wasn't even in the field until two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange and his son, Tom Strange, had to withdraw.

Duval and his stepson went out in 28, but the Cabreras regained control by starting the back nine with back-to-back birdies, and then making birdies on the 13th, 14th and 16th. The final birdie allowed them to tie the tournament scoring record.

''This is certain my best week of the year,'' said Cabrera, the 2009 Masters champion and 2007 U.S. Open champion at Oakmont. ''To play alongside all the legends ... as well as playing alongside my son, has been the greatest week of the year.''

The popular event is for players who have won a major championship or The Players Championship. It is a scramble format both days.

In some cases, the major champions lean on the power of their sons for the distance. O'Meara said Saturday that his ''little man'' hit it 58 yards by him on the 18th. And on Sunday, Stewart Cink said son Reagan told him after outdriving him on the opening four holes, ''In this tournament I may be your son, but right now I'm your Daddy!''

Jack Nicklaus played with his grandson, G.T. They closed with a 64 and tied for 15th in the field of 20 teams.