Ryo Ishikawa - Grace, Game & A Growing US Fanbase

Ryo Ishikawa - Bridgestone Invitational / Photo: AP
I was on my way out of Akron when I received the photo at left in a message from my Japanese friend, Noriko.  With it she wrote:

"Ryo has played greatly ! Hope he plays well at the final round. I believe you like his cute smile below ..."

Heading north on OH-8 N towards Twinsburg, the midwestern landscape simmered in the steamy late afternoon sunlight.  I wasn't in Ohio for the tournament... I was actually attending  a somewhat peculiar  a uniquely interesting international convention for twins...  but that's a whole nother story.   

When I found out I'd be able to fit in several hours at the Bridgestone Invitational on Saturday I jumped at the chance, and that turned out to be the day Ryo Ishikawa fired off the bogey-free six-under par 64 that put him into solo second place behind Adam Scott who eventually lifted the trophy... and Scott was stellar... that's for sure.  Rickie Fowler was superlative as well, finishing in a tie for second with world number one Luke Donald.  Another impressive Aussie, Jason Day, shared the T-4 spot with Ryo.  But it was the "Bashful Prince" who stole the spotlight... and grew his US fan base substantially... on Saturday.

If you read this blog you know I'm a huge Ishikawa fan. I first wrote about Ryo over four years ago as he prepared to compete in Junior World at Torrey Pines.  Since then the Japanese teenager has appeared in the pages of Golf Girl's Diary over fifty times... to the extent that some have suggested I rename the blog "Ryo Ishikawa's US Fan Club".   I haven't done that, but as PGA Championship week gets underway here are a couple of my Ryo posts from years past.

Welcome Back to America Ryo Ishikawa

Ryo Style - Ishikawa Awesomeness at the HSBC Champions

Adoring Female Fans Covet Ryo Ishikawa's Balls

Everyone Loves Ryo - ハニカミ王子 - Golf's "It Boy"

Remarkable Ryo Ishikawa - Best Dressed Golfer of 2009