|Ryo Ishikawa Photo: Khalid Redza /Asian Tour via Getty Images|
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 win on 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:
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.