Ryo Revival: Ishikawa Gets A Long Awaited Win & A British Open Entrée

Relentlessly Stylish Ryo           photo: callawayapparel.jp

At first glance, age 22 would seem preposterously young to be talking about relaunching a career, but for some of today's professional golfers, the concept is not so far fetched. They take up the game as children and achieve early success; winning on increasingly important stages, collecting ever more impressive trophies and piling up precocity records. 


Youthful achievers fascinate fans, and as a result they often inspire the proverbial "media frenzy", which brings with it the prospect of lucrative sponsorship deals. 


But precipitous fame can be distracting, and a global golf career implies an exhausting travel schedule. Then comes the inevitable winless spell.

The stretch can last a year or two… or ten… it can come after multiple major wins or a handful of tournament victories, but either way, it's a burden for the player to bear. Once the long awaited win finally comes we hear the word relaunch… even when the player in question is implausibly young. 
This is certainly the case for one of our favorite golfers… a golfer we've written about on many occasions: Japan's Ryo Ishikawa.

As a 15 year old amateur… in his first tour appearance… he won the Munsingwear Open KSB and became the youngest ever to win on the Japanese Men's Tour.   From there, his rise was meteoric; Ryo Ishikawa was soon being called Japan's Tiger Woods and hailed as the face of golf in Japan.

The ensuing years brought multiple wins on the Japan Tour, and in 2008 the newly christened Bashful Prince became the youngest player ever to reach the top 100 of the Official World Golf rankings, in 2009, the youngest ever to reach the top 50.  MORE –>

READ MORE >>>

Ryo Ishikawa Has A Birthday… and Earns His 2014 PGA Tour Card

Several years ago he was known as the Bashful Prince, a talented teenage golfer who stormed to the summit of fame in his native Japan and delighted fans everywhere with his sweet, shy smile.

Ryo Ishikawa played his first PGA Tour events in 2009.  Trailed by a constant crowd of Japanese journalists, his abilities impressed many as he lit up the fairways with a whimsical candy-colored wardrobe.

Expectations for the precocious phenom were stratospheric. By the Spring of 2010 more than a few golf scribes were looking for one of golf's alliterative young guns… Rory, Rickie or Ryo… to quickly become that mythical entity known as "the next Tiger".  In retrospect those predictions seem somewhat silly; here we are in waning months of 2013 and Tiger's just captured both the PGA of America's Player of the Year Award and the Vardon Trophy… for the 11th and 9th time, respectively. Even the most committed Tiger detractors seem to accept that we probably won't see "the next Tiger" any time in the forseeable future. Ever.

READ MORE >>>

The Travelers Championship: A Connecticut Golf Tradition

Travelers Championship – Fans at the 18th   (© Golf Girl Media) 

It’s the third week in June and numerous golf fans are undoubtedly experiencing an anual period of post-US-Open-Malaise right about now.

After all, the season’s second major is now history, the days will soon be getting shorter, and summer… which doesn’t even officially begin till Wednesday… already seems to be waning.

Here in Connecticut however, we’ve got the perfect antidote to that yearly hangover; it’s called the Travelers Championship and it’s an event that nutmeg state golf fans… such as myself… look forward to all year.  Our state’s biggest sporting event has a colorful history and charitable tradition, with benefits that extend well beyond this yearly week of golf festivities.

 Women’s Day at the Travelers (© Golf Girl Media) 

The opening ceremony for the 2012 Travelers Championship took place on the first tee box at TPC River Highlands this morning, celebrating the tournament’s 60th anniversary and launching the week of fun filled activities that lead up to Sunday’s final round. The field is impressive, to say the least. Defending champion Fredrik Jacobson… who hit a stellar third round 68 at the Olympic Club on Saturday… will be there, along with past champions like Bubba Watson and Hunter Mahan. A bunch of awesome internationals will be making their first appearance in Cromwell including Ryo Ishikawa, Angel Cabrera, Camilo Villegas and Louis Oosthuizen and a very newly minted major champion by the name of Webb Simpson.  Keegan Bradley, Zach Johnson, Vijay Singh are also among the multitude of major champions competing in Connecticut this week. 


We’ll be spending some time up in Cromwell later this week and I’m quite sure we’ll have some fun stories to share.  In the meantime you may want to check some of my posts from past Travelers Championships and check out the following links for additional tournament info:

Travelers Championship 2012 Schedule of Events
Travelers Championship 2012 Field of Players
Travelers Championship Tournament Charities
Travelers Championship on PGATour.com
The Travelers Championship on Facebook
The Travelers Championship on Twitter

Ryo Ishikawa on Marrying Young, Juggling Golf and Family

Ryo Ishikawa (Photo by Issei Sakakibara)

In the final installment of “Straight Talk With Ryo“… his revealing column for The Asahi Shimbun… Japan’s top golfer discusses his decision to “get married early“.

As you may remember, news broke last year that the once Bashful Prince had gotten engaged to a former Junior High School classmate, creating something of a media frenzy.

In this remarkably honest piece the Japanese champion reveals that as far back as 2007… when he was just 15-years-old… he was becoming aware the eventual challenges of creating a quality family life in the intense world of professional golf.

Ryo Ishikawa is only twenty but he displays, in his column, the “maturity-beyond-his-years”, that we’ve witnessed since he won the Munsingwear Open five years ago, becoming the youngest winner ever on the Japan Golf Tour .

The legendary Ishikawa integrity does not however preclude a romantic spirit that also comes through in his writing.  When explaining his decision to marry young he says, simply “I’ve always felt that my fiancee is the only woman I could imagine marrying”.

We’ll be seeing a lot of Ryo Ishikawa on this side of the Atlantic in the coming weeks. A schedule that includes this week’s Crown Plaza Invitational, The Memorial Tournament, the Fedex St. Jude Classic and The US Open at The Olympic Club, will give the newly-fianced golf star and his bride-to-be a kind of dress rehearsal for what the future might hold.

The final stop on this US swing will be the Travelers Championship here in CT where we’ll be looking forward to see our favorite golfer competing at TPC River Highlands for the first time.

Thank you again Noriko Imano for your unique insights… and if you’d like to read more about Ryo, we’ve got a lot.

Ryo Ishikawa on Marrying Young, Juggling Golf and Family

Ryo Ishikawa (Photo by Issei Sakakibara)

In the final installment of “Straight Talk With Ryo“… his revealing column for The Asahi Shimbun… Japan’s top golfer discusses his decision to “get married early“.

As you may remember, news broke last year that the once Bashful Prince had gotten engaged to a former Junior High School classmate, creating something of a media frenzy.

In this remarkably honest piece the Japanese champion reveals that as far back as 2007… when he was just 15-years-old… he was becoming aware the eventual challenges of creating a quality family life in the intense world of professional golf.

Ryo Ishikawa is only twenty but he displays, in his column, the “maturity-beyond-his-years”, that we’ve witnessed since he won the Munsingwear Open five years ago, becoming the youngest winner ever on the Japan Golf Tour .

The legendary Ishikawa integrity does not however preclude a romantic spirit that also comes through in his writing.  When explaining his decision to marry young he says, simply “I’ve always felt that my fiancee is the only woman I could imagine marrying”.

We’ll be seeing a lot of Ryo Ishikawa on this side of the Atlantic in the coming weeks. A schedule that includes this week’s Crown Plaza Invitational, The Memorial Tournament, the Fedex St. Jude Classic and The US Open at The Olympic Club, will give the newly-fianced golf star and his bride-to-be a kind of dress rehearsal for what the future might hold.

The final stop on this US swing will be the Travelers Championship here in CT where we’ll be looking forward to see our favorite golfer competing at TPC River Highlands for the first time.

Thank you again Noriko Imano for your unique insights… and if you’d like to read more about Ryo, we’ve got a lot.

The 2012 Travelers Championship – A Lot to Look Forward To

Red umbrellas were everywhere yesterday at TPC River Highlands. It was media day for the 2012 Travelers Championship and a light rain fell on the hills and valleys of central Connecticut, making the insurance company’s iconic logo particularly apropos.

The tournament’s defending champion Frederick Jacobson spoke about winning his first PGA Tour title almost a year ago and surmised that the event’s timing… just after US Open week… makes it more relaxing than most. Among today’s top golf stars, Bubba Watson and Hunter Mahan … world number four and five, respectively… have also captured their maiden PGA Tour wins at TPC River Highlands.

The tournament, which this year turns 60, is all about giving back.  With 100 percent of net proceeds going charity, Connecticut’s biggest sporting event has donated over to $30 million thus far. Tournament director Nathan Grube spoke about this focus… and about the entertainment experience a visit to the Travelers Championship provides, not only for golf fans, but also for those not familiar with the game.  That’s something I’ve definitely noticed over the past several years as more and more non-traditional golf activities… for children and adults… have been incorporated into the event.

The course at TPC River Highlands is laid out over a bucolic slice of undulating Connecticut countryside and features what two time winner Stuart Cink called “four of the most exciting finishing holes in the world”.  Playing there yesterday afternoon… even in the chill gray mist of spring… I could feel the excitement of the many Sunday’s I’ve spent at the fan-friendly venue during the championship. (A steady supply of coffee… laced with ample quantities of Baily’s… added requisite warmth).

An awesome field of players has already committed, including… for the first time… GGD favorite Ryo Ishikawa.  I’d been hearing rumors from my friends in Japan, and was happy to have them confirmed in Cromwell yesterday.  We’ll be writing more about the 2012 Travelers Championship in the weeks to come.  In the mean time keep up-to-date on the latest news, get ticket info and peruse photos and videos of past tournaments at travelerschampionship.com

Ryo Ishikawa’s Engagement Defies Demographic Trends

When he arrived at Tokyo’s Narita airport on Sunday, Ryo Ishikawa wasn’t dwelling on his disappointment over a missed Master’s cut, choosing instead to tell the gathered media of his recent engagement.

I got engaged last month, to a junior high school classmate,” revealed the 20 year old Japanese superstar, without mentioning her name.  Rumors of a Ryo romance first surfaced several months ago and speculation has been rife ever since, but the identity of the fortunate future WAG is still a mystery.

The Japanese press have described her only as “a tall, slender beauty with long black hair”.  No photos were released, though it seems she was in fact, in Augusta for the Masters last week, and at Bay Hill for the Arnold Palmer Invitational prior to that, and was introduced a number of her fiance’s close friends.

I’m now 20 years old, so I decided the time was right” Ishikawa told reporters without elaborating.  In Japan, age 20 does hold a special significance as the year one officially comes of age, however the average marrying age in Japan is significantly old than that… 30.5 for Japanese men and 28.8 for Japanese women… and those demographic statistics are a source of concern for many of the country’s economists, who worry about the subsequent declining birth rates and aging population.

For Japan it’s a continuing conundrum that began quite a while ago.  One look at a chart representing Japan’s birth rate over the past several decades makes that clear.  It resembles an ultra-treacherous black diamond ski slope, particularly as it’s coupled with substantial increases in Japanese longevity.

The crisis is often attributed, at least in part, to the fact that young people are choosing to get married later… or not at all.   And the government has tried everything from cash incentives to policies that provide more support for working parents. They’ve even gone so far as to develop a government dating site to help those unable to find Mr./Mrs. Right… and in what is perhaps the cutest/coolest initiative: robot babies.

Getting back to Ryo Ishikawa, he’ll be competing at the Token Tado Country Club in Nagoya, Japan this week for the Japan Golf Tour’s Token Homemate Cup.  As for his recent announcement though many in the media are writing jokingly about legions of disappointed female admirers, I’m guessing that those saddled with the task of coaxing Japan’s birth rate higher were delighted weren’t unhappy to hear that one of the country’s top role models has decided to marry so young.

Fans can congratulate Ryo on his engagment at his Panasonic site.

Ernie Els, Ryo Ishikawa & the Irksome Masters Invite Issue

11/5/11 – Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images AsiaPac

With the Masters just days away, fans, players and members of the media are weighing in on the ‘special invitations‘ debate.

The crux of the controversy, in the minds of many, seems to have boiled down to the special invitation received by Ryo Ishikawa… and the one not (up to this point) received by Ernie Els.

Interestingly, the two players being pitted against each other in the popular debate, happen to have a special relationship that transcends the current polemic. Having played mercurially together at the 2011 Presidents Cup, the likable duo became known as the “the kid and the veteran” and after two losses,  Els’ insistence on keeping the pairing intact, was rewarded when Ishikawa summoned the steely nerves required to birdie the final three holes and win their last match together. 

The Masters, with its limited field and mystical aura, is the event every golfer dreams of,  and an element of controversy surrounding the elusive “special invites” is not uncommon,  with little hope of influencing the powers-that-be in Augusta, the opinionating doesn’t ultimately amount to much.  It can, however be divisive… and perhaps counter-productive to the global golf cause… in the end. 

A couple of years ago, the always-outspoken Colin Montgomerie raised the invite issue with his a la China comment, which was seen by some players as anti-Asian, and… not surprisingly… offended many.

This year, the majority of players and fans appear to be taking a pragmatic view on the issue of the invite.  Acknowledging the attributes of each of these two players (and other’s who barely missed inclusion) most seem to accept the fact that the committee at Augusta does things their own way and isn’t likely to acknowledge… much less respond to… complaints, criticism or supplication.

In fact, the powerful men on Magnolia Lane are most likely absorbed with an issue potentially much more controversial than their decision on the 2012 special invitations: her name is Virginia Rometty,
and it’s a fair guess she’s getting more attention from the committee members then Els and Ishikawa combined. 

Note: Ryo Ishikawa fans (like me) can cheer him on with a personal message… here’s how to do it.

Ryo Ishikawa Will Soon Be Seen in Nike Casual Wear (updated)

Ryo Ishikawa With Nike Sportswear Creative Director (c) NIKE

Update: Ryo receives a Masters invite!…also check out his new comercial for Asahi Dry Zero a new 0.00% alcohol, beer-tasting beverage.
 ———————————————-
Over the past couple of years we’ve watched Ryo Ishikawa become a truly global golfer. 

He’s played all over the world, bringing his whimsical, multi-chromatic style… and an ever-growing gaggle of Japanese journalists… to the top tournaments on multiple contents. – To the extent that it’s often hard to keep track of the young superstar. – Right now Mr. Ishikawa is in Puerto Rico for the PGA Tour’s Puerto Rican Open,  he’ll then head to Florida for the Transitions Championship and the Arnold Palmer Invitational.  Currently ranked 54th, and four places short of qualifying for the Masters, Ryo will be playing these next few weeks for a spot in the field at Augusta.

Japan’s number one golfer seems to have magical powers be able to turn on a dime… getting from one end of the earth to another in record time. His appeal seems to transcend boarders as well earning him avid fans everywhere he goes. It’s therefore no surprise to hear he’s been pursued by top global brands.

In fact, Noriko Imano filled me in on this story. She also sent me a link to this exuberant Asahi ad. 
 

Golf Style: Persistent Perceptions of Sartorial Shortcomings

The Boys of the Bad Pants Open

A reputation, once it becomes ingrained in the minds of the masses, can be almost impossible to shake… and golf, over the years, has developed a sartorial reputation that’s decidedly sordid.

Thanks to decades of garish polyester pants, generations of dorky saddle shoes and endless incidents of argyle abuse, golf fashion has become a joke in the minds of many… with Rodney Dangerfield in Caddyshack as its poster boy.  The perception persists, particularly among those who don’t follow the sport, despite the wealth of sophisticated golf styles available today from top designers and a roster of young golf stars with who could hold their own on the runways of Paris as well as the fairways of Augusta National.

Golf style is an oxymoron along the lines of airline food or congressional ethics.

So began a review of Nike’s new Dunk NG Golf Shoes in Freshness, a new style/trend/consumer publication that addresses itself to a discerning community of global consumers.  The shoes, which were recently released in Japan, are of the popular street shoe/casual/sneaker-like variety, in other words, the antithesis of the aforementioned dorky saddle shoes and the review, after beginning with that inauspicious comparison ended on an optimistic note:

… the brand is doing what it can to rehabilitate golf’s image. This Dunk NG, equipped with Scorpion Stinger Spikes and Tri-LOK system, features a crisp White/Court Green-Black colorway that injects a modicum of street style to the gentleman’s game. They still don’t make golf cool, but it’s a start.

The reviewer… by the sounds of it… isn’t much into golf, and his perceptions are probably pretty representative of the non-golfing public in general.  For those of us more immersed in the sport – as spectators or players – it may be unsettling to think that despite the best efforts of designers like Tommy Hilfiger, Lacoste and Ralph Lauren… and even with stars like Ricky Fowler, Rory McIlroy and Ryo Ishikawa… golf, in the minds of many, still isn’t considered cool.

Ryo Ishikawa’s Six Days in the Snow, a Yearly Tradition

From the Arabian gulf to the the American West, last week saw many of the world’s top golfers playing in places both arid and sun-drenched.

Such was definitely not the case for Ryo Ishikawa. Instead of a week in Abu Dhabi or Phoenix, the Japanese golfer hit the snow covered hills of Yuzawa, a winter resort in the mountains north of Tokyo.

The intense physical training of cross country camp has become a annual tradition for the Japan’s top ranked golfer, and includes a number of rigorous challenges on the snow and in the gym, as well as mental coaching with emphasis on “relaxation of the mind to achieve high performance in tense situations.”  That, and fact that this training takes place far from the fairways and greens, might explain the strategy behind Ishikawa’s annual pilgrimage. After all, it wasn’t long ago that Japan’s young gun was described as far ‘too intense’ and too focused on golf. 

The change of venue will be short lived however, as Ryo now heads back to the US in hopes of earning a place at the 2012 Masters.  Currently ranked 53rd,  he’ll need to be in the world’s top 50 to assure himself a spot and… starting with the Northern Trust Open next week…  has a maximum of five events in which to do it.


Needless to say, we’ll be pulling for him at each one.  Special thanks to awesome Japanese golf girl, @usagihiyoko for the regular Ryo-updates.

Of Davos, Golf and the Imperative Shift to Sustainable Growth

I’ve been in the snowy Swiss village of Davos for the past several days… feeling like a bit of an interloper… as the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum takes place around me.  It’s been every bit as impressive… and just as quixotic… as I imagined it would be.

I’m not here as a delegate… obviously… nor am I  here with a media outlet, though I am writing.

For almost a year now I’ve been assisting a quietly brilliant Master of the Universe, Davos Man “world business leader” with a variety of writing projects.  I’ve taken to calling this my “day job” and that’s what I’ve been doing this week… from the Swiss Alps. 

My access has been somewhat limited by the minion-ish badge I’ve been wearing, but the experience has been extraordinary.  I’ve gone to a numerous panels and met a lot of remarkable people and spent quite a bit of time doing last minute research and polishing for the”day job”, but even though I’m not “reporting for anyone” or “covering anything”,  I’ll be taking a lot home with me,  much of it very pertinent to golf and the current focus on growing the game.

The theme of this year’s WEF meeting is “The Great Transformation: Shaping New Models” and the conversations I’ve had here… in the conference hall, and on the frosty streets of town… all seemed to touch on the idea of an imperative shift towards sustainable growth.  What I find striking though, is that almost 5000 miles away, in balmy Orlando FL, the leaders of the golf industry seem to have been focusing on a similar agenda of transformation, and seriously looking at new models at their annual gathering this week during the PGA Merchandise Show

Regrettably,  Murphy’s law once again intervened, dropping both of these two events (and the Sundance Film Festival and the Year of the Water Dragon celebrations) on the same block of late January days.

I missed the once yearly get-together with my golf writer and golf manufacturer friends and look forward to reading their reports and catching up with their news during the next couple of weeks.  The Farmers Insurance Open and the Abu Dhabi Championship are also taking place now and I’ve caught only fleeting snippets of each though I’ve heard latest rumblings (go Ryo / go Tiger).

I’ll be back to my normal life… and regular-ish publishing schedule within a couple of days.  However,  the long journey home begins early tomorrow and it’s time to pack up my yeti boots and attempt to sleep.

Ryo Ishikawa Officially Comes of Age, Remains Ultra-Intense

© Golf Digest Online

Early this week Ryo Ishikawa officially “came of age”.  In Japan the second Monday of January is “Coming of Age Day”, a special holiday day where those who’ve reached 20, the age of majority, are celebrated with festivities, ceremonies and parties. 

Soon after the celebration the intrepid young golfer was heading to Hawaii for the Sony Open which begins tomorrow.  In the meantime, an intense ten hour practice round at Waialea Golf Club golf course seemed to demonstrate that the hardworking Japanese superstar had paid little heed to the words of Lee Westwood who a couple of weeks ago suggested that Ishikawa was “far too intense” and “needed to get away from golf more”.

The young phenom will be paired with Webb Simpson and K.J. Choi at Sony, and it’s a pretty sure bet they’ll be one of the most followed groups. 

The Golf Channel’s Randall Mell suggested that the “Bashful Prince” was in golf’s “hot seat” as he hasn’t yet proved himself on US soil.  While some readers agreed with that assessment, many disagree, citing his myriad wins in Japan… and his youth.  In any case, lots of us are expecting (and looking forward to) a Ryo Ishikawa PGA Tour win in 2012.

As one commenter perceptively wrote,  I think a win by a Ryo Ishikawa will do the world of golf a lot of good. 

Note: Many thanks to Noriko, a friend and an avid Ryo Ishikawa fan in Japan. 

Ryo Ishikawa – Words Worth Remembering for 2012

    Ryo Ishikawa         Photo: Khalid Redza /Asian Tour via Getty Images

If you read this blog even occasionally you probably know Japanese golfer Ryo Ishikawa is a favorite of ours.  We love the quiet reserve that earned him the nickname “Bashful Prince” and the exhuberantly colorful sartorial style that had one writer calling him “The Pink Pantster”

2011 was a challenging year for the

Ryo Ishikawa – Words Worth Remembering for 2012

    Ryo Ishikawa         Photo: Khalid Redza /Asian Tour via Getty Images

If you read this blog… even occasionally… you probably know that Japanese golfer Ryo Ishikawa is a favorite of ours.  We love the quiet reserve that earned him the nickname “Bashful Prince” …and the exhuberantly colorful sartorial style that had one writer calling him “The Pink Pantster”

2011 was a challenging year for the young champion both on and off the course. He finished the season winless, and at 51 in the world, one spot shy of earning automatic qualification for the Masters.

He’ll now need to make the top 50 a week before the Masters, or winon the U.S. PGA Tour, to qualify for a spot in the field at Augusta. To that end the player who was recently called “too intense”  by W#2 Lee Westwood, will be playing very… intensively between now and April.

When epic natural disaster struck his native Japan almost a year ago, the then-19-year-old announced that he would donate all of his golf earnings for 2011 to the Japan relief fund.  I don’t know exactly how much that ended up being but by mid-October it was approaching $1.5 million.  It was what he said about his donation however, that earned Ryo Ishikawa a place on business writer Jena McGregor’s list of the past year’s most inspiring leadership quotes: 

“As my social status in Japan is getting higher, I believe that is one of the responsibilities, to provide for those people who are in need.” golfer Ryo Ishikawa, on his decision to donate all of his 2011 earnings to earthquake relief in Japan.


The list appeared yesterday at On Leadership the blog McGregor writes for TheWashingtonPost.com. She explains that she finds Ishikawa’s quote memorable for a couple of reasons, “…one is his use of the word “responsibility” to describe what he believes he owes the Japanese people because his status in the golf world has risen.  The second is his remarkable willingness to donate all of his earnings of last year to earthquake relief. So many people in power are paid far more handsomely than Ishikawa, and yet we don’t know of many who have made such generous gestures.”

If you’re a Ryo Ishikawa fan you can do what we did and send the inspiring golf star New Year message here.

Ryo Ishikawa: Heading Down Under Alone After Weekend Ace

These are certainly some… interesting… times for Ryo Ishikawa.

Over the weekend, the 20-year-old Japanese superstar recorded his second career hole-in-one and came tantalizingly close to defending his title at the Taiheiyo Masters golf championship.   In the end an untimely encounter with a water hazard on 18 resulted in a T8 finish for Ryo.

It would have been an awesome win on a number

Ryo Ishikawa: Heading Down Under Alone After Weekend Ace

JIJI PRESS/AFP/Getty Images

These are certainly some… interesting… times for Ryo Ishikawa.

Over the weekend, the 20-year-old Japanese superstar recorded his second career hole-in-one and came tantalizingly close to defending his title at the Taiheiyo Masters golf championship.   In the end an untimely encounter with a water hazard on 18 resulted in a T8 finish for Ryo.

It would have been an awesome win on a number of levels.  At second on the Japan Tour money list, Ishikawa has yet to win this year, and because he’ll be playing in Australia at the President’s Cup this week he’s got only two events left in which to claim a 2011 victory.

And speaking of Australia, remember how Ryo was going to introduce the world to his mysterious girlfriend this week in Melbourne?  Apparently that’s not going to happen.  It seems the media frenzy has only gotten frothier since the girlfriend story broke… to the extent that it now includes rumors of pregnancy.  While Japan’s version of the National Enquirer is no-doubt delighted with these developments this last minute change in plans seems to have been made to avoid the marauding media.

And the latest Bashful Prince buzz?  It’s now all about the Ishikawa late arrival in Australia. Super-stardom does have a downside. Fortunately, Ryo Ishikawa seems capable of handling just about anything.

Ryo Romance has golf journos "exceeding social norms"

Photo by Sankei via Getty Images

He’s barely twenty but Ryo Ishikawa has already had more experience
with journalists and photographers than most players ever will, and he’s
been praised on numerous occasions for the way he handles the press on
and off the course.

Recently however things have been
getting a bit out of hand… to the extent that the youthful golf
champion’s manager… who

Ryo Romance has golf journos "exceeding social norms"

Ryo At the Canon Open, Oct 2011  • • •  Photo by Sankei via Getty Images

At barely twenty, Ryo Ishikawa has already had more experience
with the press than most players ever will, and he’s
often been praised for the grace with which he handles the throngs of reporters who track his every move.

Recently however things have been
getting a bit out of hand. To the extent that the youthful

Meet MiniKawa: Ryo Ishikawa’s Cute New Club Cover

Photo: Yoshihiro Iwamoto

If you happen to be in Nagoya Japan this week for the Coca Cola Tokai Classic, you may notice a cute little guy in blue tagging along behind superstar golfer Ryo Ishikawa.

Well that would be MiniKawa, latest addition to the Bashful Prince’s club cover collection.   With spiky black hair, a visor and cool looking Swans he’s clearly another Ryo wannabe… and on the