Financially Backing Fujikawa


HONOLULU ' About 1 oclock local time the 18-year-old tapped in for a share of the lead. He then made the rounds with the press and took some pictures with family behind the media center. Two hours later his name was still atop the leaderboard. By that point, Tadd Fujikawa had already jumped into the 1st Hawaiian Bank luxury box at Waialae Country Club to shake a few hundred more hands.
Banks arent lending a lot of money these days, but doesnt it make some sense to loosen the endorsement purse strings for the best story to come out of Hawaii, since, well, since a certain man wholl be sworn in as President this Tuesday?
Who knows, he might own the bank tomorrow afternoon. If he does win, does Sports Illustrated bump the Super Bowl combatants for a Fujikawa cover? Probably not, since football wipes out everything in its path, including what would be one of the all-time tales.
Im out there to win, he said.
A more realistic goal would be a top-10 finish. That would earn Tadd a spot in the FBR Open in two weeks in Scottsdale. Sponsors exemptions might follow.
The Fujikawas could use the paychecks, and the love. Its been a bittersweet period, with Tadds father, Derrick, facing an early February court date on charges of drug trafficking. Derricks out on bail and on the grounds at Waialae.
He was watching Golf Channels coverage inside the clubhouse. Im told he was in tears when in an interview I asked his father, Tadds grandfather, Daniel, about the drug rap. A member sought me out later and laid into me. I understand the anger. They may not understand the difficult position of a journalist. The informations already been widely reported. Its been front page news here in Honolulu. Im obligated to ask about the impact on Tadd, though I certainly dont enjoy it.
In any event, Tadds getting strong financial support from a successful Japanese businesswoman. I met Mrs. Yoshie Yoshikawa after Tadds Saturday round of 62. Yoshikawa grew up outside Tokyo, one of four children who lost her parents at a young age. She finished only middle school and then set out on her own.
Eventually she would own seven womens retail fashion stores in the Tokyo area. Shes married, but with no children, today in her early 60s.
She first visited Honolulu on vacation in the late 1980s and met Tadd and his family several years back. Yoshikawa followed him at his local junior tournaments.
Because of my own challenges growing up, when I met Tadd I wanted to help, she told me through an interpreter. Its as if hes one of my own.
Yoshikawa now provides the financial backing for the four trips a year to Sea Island, Ga., for Tadd to get instruction from Todd Anderson and fitness work from Randy Myers.
And she wants nothing in return. No payback. No percentage of future winnings. She gets something else from Tadd.
I get a lot of energy from him, she said. I believe theres something special. I believe hell achieve his dream.
She then flashed a big smile and pumped her fist, breaking through the language barrier as she exclaimed with emphasis, Yes!
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