|Photo: YURIKO NAKAO Credit: REUTERS|
The Japanese superstar... who is not yet twenty... has missed the cut in his last two tournaments and carded an uncharacteristic 12-over 83 in the first round of the Japan Golf Tour Championship. His fans were clearly concerned. So too, I presume, was anyone connected to golf in Japan... in almost any capacity.
Such is the star power of the one they call the Bashful Prince. He's the face of the game in Japan, and for years has been credited with reviving the country's interest in men's golf. To that end when Ryo struggles, the golf population's collective malaise will inevitably fall squarely on his young shoulders. Fortunately, the 19-year-old appears able to support that weight and seems to handle professional golf's inherent disappointments as well as he's handled his own amazing golf triumphs.
"Most of the problems stem from my putting and short game," Ishikawa said today at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club event, "There is no tournament this week so I'll have some good practice and hopefully I can put these past two tournaments behind me."
The entire world will be able to assess Ryo's "recovery" in a couple of weeks. He has an exemption for the U.S. Open, which starts on June 16.