Japanese golfer Ryo Ishikawa said Tuesday he will donate all of his earnings in 2011 to the victims of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in his country.
The teenager also said he will donate 100,000 yen for every birdie he makes.
He was No. 3 on the Japan Golf Tour money list in 2010, making just over $1.8 million (U.S.), which includes his earnings from the majors and World Golf Championship. He led the tour by making 341 birdies last year, which could amount to another $400,000.
If he plays similar to last year, Ishikawa could wind up giving more than $2 million toward relief efforts.
"I've set my goal at 200 million yen in total," Ishikawa told the Associated Press. "I know recovery in the quake-affected areas will take a long time. I'd like to strive together with the victims in recovery efforts."
The nine-time winner in Japan created the donation program after consulting with his father Katsumi.
After the Masters, Ishikawa will return home for the start of the Japanese Tour season.
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Spencer Levin said earlier that he felt he got a lot out of his round because he didn’t hit it nearly as well as he scored. And so far, his 2-under 70 is standing up with Levin holding a two-shot lead over Steve Marino and Charles Howell, who had the low round of the day with a 65.
Right behind Howell and Marino, though, is Rickie Fowler, who is 3 under on his round with two holes to play and 6 under for the week. Hunter Mahan is right there, too. He’s 2 under on the day and one shot back of Fowler.
Phil Mickelson? He’s gone backwards today at 3 over through 14 holes to drop to even par for the tournament.
The sixth hole proved to be Mickelson’s waterloo, so to speak, with the left-hander rinsing his tee shot and then hitting his next one into a fairway bunker. Mickelson was forced to lay up from there before eventually finishing with a triple-bogey 8.
As for the cut line, it’s currently at 4 over. As a point of reference, the highest cut this season was 6 over at the par-70 PGA National. The highest cut in tournament history was 10 over in 1983.
Those currently outside the cut line include Bill Haas (still on the course), Camilo Villegas, Sean O’Hair (on the course), Ryo Ishikawa, Graeme McDowell and Jhonattan Vegas. -- Brian Wacker
DORAL, Fla. -- All week long, the giant LED screen at the front of the media center had either been tuned to the Golf Channel or ESPN.
Friday morning, though, CNN was on, and the disturbing scenes projected over and over where golf normally occupies center stage were of the devastation from the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan overnight.
The images hit a little closer to home here at Doral where three Japanese players are competing in the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship. And 44 reporters and photographers from 29 different Japanese media outlets had come to Doral to report on their sports heroes, Ryo Ishikawa, Hiroyuki Fujita and Yuta Ikeda.
Ikeda was so distraught by the news he declined to speak with reporters after he finished off his round of 74 on Friday morning. But he did stop for an interview after shooting 73 on Friday afternoon.
Ikeda's ties to the tragedy were more direct since he went to Tohoku Fukushi University in Sendai, which sustained some of the worst damage from the quake that registered 8.9 on the Richter scale. And Ikeda's parents live in Chiba, where an oil refinery was burning.
"It's tough," Ikeda said. "(Sendai is) my second hometown. I was born and raised in Chiba, but I went to school in Sendai and to see what you had to see on TV was very difficult to take in."
Ikeda first learned of the disaster when he received an e-mail from a friend in Japan about 3 a.m. on Friday morning. The nine-time winner on the Japan Tour has been up ever since, watching the news coverage whenever he could.
"The tough part; the cell phones still are not working in Japan," Ikeda said. "So I made many calls, but everyone I haven't been able to contact. It doesn't mean they are not accounted for. It just means I haven't been able to contact them to make sure they are okay."
Ishikawa learned about the earthquake when he got up Friday and turned on his computer, as he does every morning. His parents live in the Tokyo area, which is about 250 miles from the hardest hit areas of Japan. Even so, the earthquake felt in the country’s capital city was in the realm of 5.0 on the Richter scale.
"I received communication from my father, and the message was, focus on your golf, we are fine, do what you need to do,” Ishikawa said.
Ishikawa tried to follow his dad’s advice at 8:30 a.m. when he returned to TPC Blue Monster to complete the first round. He had six holes to play and made two more birdies -- shooting a 65, which is his best round on the PGA TOUR by three strokes.
"Many of the PGA (TOUR) players walked up to me such as Ernie Els and Vijay Singh … and asked how was my family and showed a lot of concern and I appreciated that,” Ishikawa said. “I tried my best to block everything out but as you can imagine, it’s a very tough day.”
Ishikawa was alone in second at 7 under, one stroke behind Hunter Mahan, after the first round. He never got untracked in the second round, though, and shot a 76 that left him tied for 17th, five strokes back. But he refused to blame his play on the tragic events in his homeland.
“It was simply that the Blue Monster decided to be what it’s known to be,” said Ishikawa, who who noted that all the major professional sports have been suspended in Japan. He hopes to continue to play well for his country.
"It is not possible to block something of this magnitude out completely," Ishikawa said. "But I understand that in the position that I am, together with the other star athletes from Japan and other sporting areas, we can provide encouragement and hope for the people of Japan by myself doing the job."
Fujita, who is from Tokyo, saw the footage of the disaster on TV before he resumed his first round at 8:30 a.m. He had not been able to reach his family but found out on the sixth hole everyone was okay.
“When I saw the TV, it's so disastrous, but I had a tee time, so anyway, I need to go and tee off, and I just did it and tried to concentrate on my own play,” Fujita said.
The news reports and pictures were hard to take in. “I couldn't believe it,” Fujita said. “It is not in this world.”
Click here to read what other PGA TOUR pros and fans are saying. -- Helen Ross
DORAL, Fla. – Hunter Mahan has been a birdie machine during the first round of the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship.
Minutes before the horn sounded to suspend play, Mahan made his seventh birdie in just 10 holes to lengthen his lead to two strokes over Charley Hoffman, Vijay Singh, Nick Watney, Ryo Ishikawa, Matt Kuchar, Martin Kaymer and Luke Donald.
Hoffman, though, is the leader in the clubhouse because he has finished off the 67. D.A. Points is also finished, posting a 68.
Mahan started on the back nine and set the tone for the day with four straight birdies – two-putting No. 10 from 27 feet, then rolling in birdies from 27, 8 and 2 feet on the next three holes. He made a 15-footer at No. 16 and another from 11 feet at the 17th to turn in 30.
Mahan’s final birdie of the extended day came at the par-5 first hole where he rolled in a 13-footer. He two-putted the second for par and then returned to the clubhouse.
"I guess with that storm it brought some tranquility to the golf course, because there was just no wind," Mahan said. "There was nothing out there. The course is in perfect shape. I was seeing there was a bunch of low scores; so good players and a good golf course and benign conditions, you're going to have some good scores."
Mahan has been playing extremely well this year with three top-10s in six starts, including solo second at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. The three-time TOUR champ has yet to miss a cut and currently ranks 11th in the FedExCup standings.
So while he knew the course was there for the taking Mahan knew better than to put any extra pressure on himself.
“I felt pretty good about my game in general so I just wanted to go out there and play and let everything happen,” he said. “I didn't want to put any expectations on myself. I just kind of want to trust my game, trust my swing and just let everything kind of flow.
“I got off to a good start and that just kind of gives you a little confidence and gives you a little momentum. With the conditions the way they are you can be aggressive with a lot of pins and the greens, they are not that fast.”
Nine players were able to finish the first round before play was suspended. The other 58 will return at 8:30 a.m. on Friday to complete the opening 18. The second round will begin as scheduled at 11:20 a.m. – Helen Ross
DORAL, Fla. – Ryo Ishikawa is working on what could be his best round ever in the United States.
The 19-year-old from Japan is currently tied for the lead at the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship after making the turn in 31. Also at 5 under are Matt Kuchar, who has played right holes, and Hunter Mahan, who is through seven.
Ishikawa has never shot lower than a 68 in 18 PGA TOUR events. His best finish on this side of the Pacific Ocean is a tie for 32nd at the Northern Trust Open last year.
DORAL, Fla. – Two could be fashion models while the other is as sturdy as a linebacker. All three, though, are the future of the game.
The elegantly-appointed Ryo Ishikawa, the colorful Rickie Fowler and amiable Jhonattan Vegas are paired together in Thursday’s first round of the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship. This “New Breed” threesome’s tee time is 3:18 p.m. at the first tee.
Fowler, now 22, is the reigning PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year and Vegas is his heir-apparent after winning the Bob Hope Classic in a playoff earlier this year. Vegas, who is from Venezuela, is just the third rookie to win on the PGA TOUR since 2008.
The 19-year-old Ishikawa continues to play the bulk of his golf in his native Japan where he’s won 11 times. This is his first appearance at the Cadillac Championship but his sixth in the World Golf Championships series.
Vegas had never played in a World Golf Championships until this week. The 26-year-old --the old man of the group -- qualified due to his second-place standing in the current FedExCup race and figures to be a favorite of the Latin American fans in south Florida.