RYO ISHIKAWA TO ENTER THE ROYAL TROPHY RECORD BOOKS


Ryo Ishikawa will make a record-equalling fifth Royal Trophy appearance in December after becoming the latest player nominated to a formidable-looking Asian Team.

Ishikawa, who has been an ever-present in the Asian ranks since making a triumphant debut in the competition in 2009, is the third Japanese star selected by newly-installed Captain Y.E. Yang. He joins reigning Japan Golf Tour Order of Merit champion Hiroyuki Fujita and the country’s latest global golfing sensation, Hideki Matsuyama.

The other men already nominated by Captain Yang to do battle with the Europeans at the Dragon Lake Golf Club in Guangzhou, China are his fellow Korean K.T. Kim – the man who secured Asia’s dramatic play-off victory last year with a stunning birdie at the first extra hole – and China’s most successful current player, Liang Wen-chong. Legendary Chinese golfer Zhang Lian-wei will act as Vice Captain and is expected to rally tremendous public support for the Asian Team.

Ishikawa’s participation always adds an extra buzz to the Royal Trophy, simply because he is one of the most exciting talents in the game. And his fifth successive appearance allows him to match the record set by European star Henrik Stenson and Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee.

Since exploding onto the international scene in 2007 by winning the first of his ten Japan Golf Tour titles as a 15 year old amateur – becoming the youngest champion on any major Tour – Ishikawa has thrilled galleries and television audiences and established himself as a golfing superstar.

He will also come into the next edition of the Royal Trophy with the experience of having played his first full-time season in the PGA Tour in America, where he underlined his enormous potential with strong performances at the Masters and the US PGA Championship.

Given his remarkable achievements, it is hard to believe Ishikawa is still only 22, and is nowhere near the peak of his powers. Since that sensational victory in the 2007 Muningswear Open KSB Cup he has become the youngest players ever to break into the top 100 of the world rankings, and the youngest to win the Order of Merit on a leading tour, when his four victories earned him a runaway success at the 2009 Japan Golf Tour. Among his other stunning exploits was his final round 58 to win the 2010 Crowns championship by 12 shots, the lowest score recorded in any top level tournament.

Predictably, Ishikawa was also in the thick of the action in his latest Royal Trophy appearance. He partnered fellow Japanese star Yoshinori Fujimoto to a crucial Four-ball victory over celebrated Ryder Cup duo and World Cup winners Francesco and Edoardo Molinari, and was then involved in a titanic Singles struggle with Stenson, before being edged out on the final hole.

Ishikawa thrives in the adrenaline-charged atmosphere of team match-play, and was delighted to be selected for Asia once again. He said: “I am very thankful to Captain Y.E. Yang for nominating me to the Asian Team for the Royal Trophy. To represent Asia at the Royal Trophy is an enormous honour and a very important responsibility. And I am very much looking forward to it.

“The Royal Trophy is very special and a real highlight in our professional schedule. We are playing for the Asian people, for our Captain and for our teammates. The level of energy and competitiveness is amazing.

“Our victory in Brunei last year was unforgettable. The final day of Singles was so intense and the matches so close and to win on a play-off was really exceptional.

“I will fight very hard and will compete with the utmost determination to defeat the Europeans and retain the Royal Trophy in Asia. I will play my heart out for Asia and for Captain Y.E. Yang.”

Asian Team Captain Y.E. Yang commented on his latest nomination: “Ryo Ishikawa’s achievements are outstanding and, while he is still very young, he already has the experience of having played in four previous editions of the Royal Trophy. I am certain that he will be a powerful asset for our Asian Team as we battle to defeat the Europeans.”

One of the most popular and photographed persons in Japan, Ryo Ishikawa continues to make a great positive impact on the growth of the professional game in his country and throughout Asia. Japan Golf Tour Organization Chairman Katsuji Ebisawa commented: “It is a magnificent achievement for Ryo Ishikawa to have been selected to represent Asia at the Royal Trophy for the fifth consecutive time.

“Ryo Ishikawa is a formidable and very popular player and we are delighted with his appointment. The Royal Trophy has grown into a very significant event and a truly important landmark for Asian professional golf.

“As an event inspired by the late Seve Ballesteros, the Royal Trophy will always hold a very special position with the Japan Golf Tour Organization and in Japanese professional golf.”

The Royal Trophy Asian Players’ Committee Chairman Isao Aoki added his own tribute. He said: “I congratulate Ryo Ishikawa on his nomination for the Asian Team for the seventh edition of the Royal Trophy.

“The next hosting of this great competition between Asia and Europe promises to be truly remarkable, especially following on the emotional Asian victory last year in Brunei.

“Captain Y.E. Yang has done very well in nominating Ryo Ishikawa, Hideki Matsuyama, Hiroyuki Fujita, K.T. Kim and Liang Wen-chong as his first five players for the Asian Team – a very powerful selection of Asia’s best professional golfers to contend with the José Maria Olazábal-led European Team.”

The first-ever edition of the Royal Trophy to be played in the People’s Republic of China will be hosted on 20-22 December 2013 at the Dragon Lake Golf Club’s Asian Games course, which is expected to be in spectacular condition for the series of sixteen Foursomes, Four-ball and Singles matches. Chief Tournament Director, Andy Yamanaka, stated that preparations are progressing according to plans: “Following my latest host venue inspection at Dragon Lake Golf Club, I confirm that the preparations for the Royal Trophy are proceeding very well.

“We foresee a great competition played between the two continents at an excellent venue and on a golf course in true championship condition.”

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