Japans Ishikawa looking forward to Masters


NARITA, Japan – Japanese teenager Ryo Ishikawa says he has added focus for the upcoming golf season after receiving his invitation to return to this year’s U.S. Masters.

“I’ve been waiting for this moment,” Ishikawa said Tuesday. “It’s a huge relief to get this (invitation) again and it gives me an immediate sense of purpose at the start of a new year.”

Ishikawa, 18, received his Masters invitation Monday and proudly showed it to reporters at Narita Airport before departing for the Royal Trophy tournament in Thailand.

Ranked 30th in the world, Ishikawa went to the 2009 Masters on a sponsor’s invitation in April and played alongside Tiger Woods at the British Open in July, missing the cut in both tournaments.

He made the 2010 Masters by virtue of his season results.

Ishikawa made the weekend rounds and tied for 62nd at the U.S. PGA Championship in August as the youngest competitor in tournament history.

He was also picked for the International team for the Presidents Cup in October and finished with a solid 3-2-0 record.

Ishikawa made Japanese golf history by becoming the youngest-ever money title winner in 2009 and was named the Most Valuable Player by the Japan Golf Tour Organization.

Ishikawa, who won four titles in 2009 and took in earnings of over $1.9 million, received awards in a record nine JGTO different categories.