Japanese golfer gets another exemption into Masters
TribLIVE Sports Videos
AUGUSTA, Ga. — Ryo Ishikawa of Japan is headed back to the Masters with another special invitation.
Augusta National Golf Club said Friday that Ishikawa and Thaworn Wiratchant of Thailand have accepted the invitations, which are reserved for international players. It will be the fifth straight year the 21-year-old Ishikawa is playing the Masters.
This is his third special exemption.
Thaworn is No. 68 in the world and won the Asian Tour money title last year. He also holds the Asian Tour record for most career victories, winning the Hero India Open last year for his 15th title.
Ishikawa dropped as low as No. 91 in the world late last year before his game picked up.
He won the Taiheiyo Masters for his 10th career title on the Japan Golf Tour, part of seven top-10 finishes in his last 10 tournaments of the year. He is No. 75 in the world.
“Through our established qualifications, and invitations to select international players not otherwise qualified, we historically bring together a collection of the world's top players, and this year is no different,” Masters chairman Billy Payne said.
“The Masters has long established a tradition of supporting the global game, and we were excited to extend invitations to Thaworn Wiratchant and Ryo Ishikawa, who we hope will provide added interest and enthusiasm for golf in Asia through their participation in the tournament.”
Ishikawa is sure to get attention because no other player has received more exemptions over the last 10 years.
Ishikawa is a rock star in Japan, however, having won his first tournament as a 15-year-old amateur. But his game went into a deep slump last year, when he missed the cut in the first three majors before a tie for 59th in the PGA Championship.
Ishikawa came under more scrutiny last year when he received an invitation ahead of Ernie Els, who had fallen out of the top 50.
Els went on to win the British Open for his fourth major championship.
The special exemptions, however, typically go to players who are not PGA Tour members, and the Masters looks mainly at Asian players because of its television contracts and the rapid growth and interest in golf in the region.
That's why it helped to create the Asia Pacific Amateur, with the winner getting a spot in the Masters.
This year, the winner was Guan Tianlang, a 14-year-old from China, who will be the youngest player in Masters history.
PGA Tour members have several different categories through which they can qualify, such as winning a tournament, finishing in the top 30 on the money list or reaching the final event of the FedEx Cup playoffs.
This might be the last year of an exemption for Ishikawa.
The Japanese star has joined the PGA Tour for the first time.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- LaBar: WWE not backing down from controversy
- Monessen nuisance bar hearing opens
- Donora talks trash with two collectors
- LCB, Duquesne University police recover rare bourbon in illegal sale
- Stat dropoff, road struggles have Penguins seeking consistency
- Rossi: In Super city, everything but football matters
- Judge orders nonprofit tax form release in case against IRS
- Driver leaps from sliding truck just before it topples down hillside in Fawn
- 3 arrested in recent McKeesport business burglaries
- Gunman sought in gas station robberies in Jefferson, Buffalo townships
- Beloved North Side gardener gets new truck, paid for by her neighbors