From the Rough

Golf without discretion

Welcome to the big show, Mr. Ishikawa

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188291At 17 years of age I got the chance to experience: I got the opportunity to go to Augusta National and watch the Masters in person.

The experience was beyond belief, and for being just 17 years of age, I felt like there wasn’t anything in the world that could better the rush of seeing Amen Corner in living color.

Well apparently there is something that could beat walking the hallowed grounds of Augusta National, and that’s getting to play the course at the ripe age of 17. To my chagrin, that invite from Augusta never came. But for a young 17 year old hotshot named Ryo Ishikawa, he gets to live out every high school golfers dream by teeing it up with Tiger and the gang at the 2009 Masters.

You know sometimes life just isn’t fair.

Ishikawa received a special invitation from Augusta National on Thursday, putting the teenager in line to become the second-youngest player to compete in the Masters.

“I got the call last night,” Ishikawa told a news conference Friday. “Of course everything was in English and I couldn’t understand it well. But I could understand ‘Masters’ and ‘invitation’ and that’s when I knew what was happening.”

He will be the youngest player at the Masters since Tommy Jacobs competed as an amateur in 1952 at 17 years, one month and 21 days. Ishikawa, who already has won twice on the Japan tour, turned 17 four months ago.

The invitation to compete on one of golf’s biggest stages came a day after he received exemptions from three U.S. PGA Tour events.

News of Ishikawa’s invitation to the Masters dominated the front pages of Japan’s sports newspapers and Friday morning news programs.

No Japanese golfer has ever won the Masters. Toshimitsu Izawa tied for fourth in 2001. (AP)

At the age of 15, Ishikawa became the the youngest player to win on one of the six majors tours around the world when he he won the Munsingwear Open KSB Cup on the Japan Tour. Currently he’s ranked 60th on the World Rankings.

Junior golfers continue to get better and better every year, there isn’t anyone out there that would doubt that. But to be 17 and ranked that high in the professional world rankings is beyond comprehension.

Would Tiger have been able to accomplish something like this at the age of 17? I wish we could go back and time to see how he would have fared.

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Written by Jonathan Wall

01/23/2009 at 5:31 pm

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