Ishikawa shows his all-round class

Published 05/04/2011 11:58:35

He may not be favourite in the golf betting for the US Masters this year, but Japanese golf sensation Ryo Ishikawa will certainly have a number of neutrals looking for his name on the leaderboard at Augusta this week - due in no small part to the fact that he has offered to donate his entire pay packet from 2011 to the Japanese Earthquake Relief Fund -estimated to be around £1.3m. As well as the bulk donation, he will also be topping that sum up with a personal donation of £750 for every birdie he goes on to make this season.

The golfer - currently ranked at number 45 in the world - is no stranger to doing things his way, and first made his mark on the sport by becoming the youngest ever winner of a men's regular tournament when he won the Munsingwear Open KSB event four months shy of his sixteenth birthday. He also shot a 12-under-par final round score of 58 to win The Crowns golf tournament on the Japanese tour - the score was the lowest ever in Japanese Tour history and consisted of 12 birdies and six pars.

Now aged nineteen he has developed into a top class competitor and will be looking to both capture the world's imagination as well as cementing a place in history by placing well at Augusta later this week. Lee Westwood has come out in support of the young man's credentials, and expects him to make a real splash on the Georgia course despite never having played particularly well away from his native Japan. However, he feels that Asian golf as a whole is improving drastically - with Ryo Ishikawa, buoyed by public support, at its forefront will make a real impression this year. The US Masters betting   makes him something of an outsider, but he could have what it takes to cause an upset.

The fact that his offer to the victims of Japan's tsunami disaster is being made by a sportsman at the very peak of his career and fame certainly puts a sense of perspective around the lavish and prestigious event, and his generosity puts many of his colleagues - both in golf and the wider sporting world - to shame. Speaking of the tournament, he humbly stated that he feels as though he "will be playing with a greater purpose this year." It's hard to disagree.



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