Ryo Ishikawa, the Japanese golf sensation had his first taste of victory at international level when he played a part in Asia's 10-6 maiden victory over two-time champions Europe at the Royal Trophy team tournament in Thailand from 9 to 11 January 2009.
Asia staged a remarkable performance to an historic first victory over Europe in the 2009 Edition of The Royal Trophy. The Royal Trophy is a three day Ryder Cup-style matchplay event where the best players of Europe compete against the best of Asia and is held annually at the magnificient Amata Spring Country Club in Thailand.
Joe Ozaki, the Captain of the Asian team, believes Asia 's first Royal Trophy triumph, spearheaded by Japanese sensation Ryo Ishikawa, will inspire a new generation of Asian golfers and acknowledge that Ishikawa has become a Tiger Woods-style Pied Piper in terms of attracting headlines as well as spectators.
His achievements in winning his first Japan Golf Tour event as a 15 year old amateur – and following up by winning again and finishing second in two of Japan's biggest events in his first year as a professional - are certainly Tiger-like.
Ishikawa showed he has learned how to handle himself off the course pretty adeptly as well. When he was asked what he thought of Thai girls - a potentially 'loaded' question, considering he is a teen pin-up in Japan - he thought long and hard before breaking into a big grin and answering: "Cute !".
Ryo Ishikawa has been invited to the US Masters taken him one step closer to achieving his dream of becoming its youngest champion.
He will be the second youngest player and the youngest professional to compete in the prestigious major event. American Tommy Jacobs was one month and 21 days past his 17th birthday when he played in the 1952 event as an amateur.
In 2008, Ryo won his second Japan Tour event and finished runner-up at the Japan Open and the Dunlop Phoenix Open, becoming the youngest golfer on the tour to reach 100 million yen (1.1 million dollars) in single-year winnings.