Blame it on Ryo

Ryo Ishikawa, that is.

He's the uber-adorable golf guy who's become such a HUGE star they had to hire twelve guards to patrol the course when he played recently in his country's Japan Amateur Golf Championship. Yes, the fifteen year old, known affectionately as "the bashful prince" is a newly minted pop culture idol. Newly minted indeed. The fact is, he just burst onto the collective national radar on May 20, when he won the Japan Golf Tour's Munsingwear Open KSB Cup, spectacularly, with a come-from-behind seven-birdie final round of 66. The youngest ever to win that event... And the disarming smile... What's not to like? The fervor has only grown since, building up to this week's Junior World, where Ishikawa will compete for the first time, in the 15-to 17-year-old Division, today through Friday at Torrey Pines. We'll see what transpires there, but no matter how well he plays, there's no doubt he'll be attracting more than his share of paparazzi. After all, it's their job to feed Japan's current Ryo hunger.

The young Mr.Ishikawa seems to be handling his new found fame well, but because of the massive crowds he now attracts, he's had to curtail one of his favorite hobbies; shopping. I guess he'll just have to order his golf clothes on-line from now on. Oh, the high price of golf stardom.