Japan relief could reap big reward with Ryo Ishikawa win

Teen star is giving all his 2011 prize money to tsunami relief, and then some

August 07, 2011|By Jeff Shain, Orlando Sentinel

AKRON, Ohio — Sunday’s final round of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational could translate into a huge windfall for disaster relief in Japan.

Ryo Ishikawa, tied for second behind leader Adam Scott, has earmarked all of his 2011 prize money to a relief effort still helping victims of the earthquake and tsunami that struck March 11.

The WGC-Bridgestone winner receives $1.4 million.

“Japan is still in a devastating situation,” said the 19-year-old pro, who could become the youngest in 100 years to win any event now affiliated with the PGA Tour.

“There are people that have no homes right now, and we actually don’t know how long it’s going to take for Japan to recover.”

According to Japanese police and fire officials, the disaster claimed some 16,000 lives, left 450,000 homeless and destroyed some 250,000 buildings.

In addition his winnings, Ishikawa also has pledged an additional 100,000 yen (currently $1,275) for every birdie he makes this year. Combined, his total commitment adds up to about $955,000. One more good round Sunday would more than double that.

“That’s an incredibly generous gesture from a young man, really,” Scott said. “He should be proud of himself, and Japan should be really proud of him.”

Ishikawa, by the way, might not be recognizable to fans who remember his long locks. After sporting a Rory McIlroy-type perm at the British Open, he’s had the sides shorn and left it long only on top.

“Too hot here,” he said inEnglish.

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