Tag Archives: tsunami

Royal Trophy 2012: Ryo Ishikawa could make the difference in Brunei

Japan's superstar Ishikawa could be the difference in Asia's bid to topple Europe in Royal Trophy

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UPDATED:

15:48 GMT, 15 December 2012

The first thing that set Ryo Ishikawa apart from the other golfers at the Royal Trophy, Ryder Cup stars and all, came during the tournament’s opening ceremony.

Each player was introduced to polite and respectful applause. Then came Ryo, and suddenly the room was not filled with dignitaries and journalists but squealing teenagers.

Ishikawa attracts a fanatical following from his homeland of Japan wherever he plays across the globe. Whenever he takes to the course there are as many photographers as paying spectators following his every move.

Eyes on the prize: Ishikawa struck two outstanding shots in the fourballs

Eyes on the prize: Ishikawa struck two outstanding shots in the fourballs

Young, squeaky clean, good looking but entirely unthreatening… as a colleague here in Brunei put it, Ishikawa could well be described as the Justin Bieber of golf.

But, like when asking anyone over the age of 16 what their favourite Bieber song is, mention Ishikawa and most golf fans’ faces will turn blank.

To be fair to Ryo, his music does not make a proportion of the public want to pull their own fingernails out. Although it must be said we’ve never heard him sing. Let’s keep it that way.

So what’s all the fuss about Well, apart from the boyband looks, he donated his earnings on tour in 2011 to the Japanese earthquake and tsunami relief fund, plus an additional 750 for every birdie he made during the year. So he’s a nice boy – but is he a top-class golfer

The Ishikawa frenzy erupted when he became the youngest ever winner on the Japan Golf Tour aged just 15. Now 21, Ryo has won another 10 titles but only last month ended a barren run of two years without a victory. He has also never made his presence felt at any of the major championships, beyond the sizable boost to the local economies provided by the ever-present, and ultimately disappointed, throng of Japanese tourists.

Joining the scrum following Ishikawa during his fourball match at the Royal Trophy on Saturday, there were encouraging signs early on.

Up for grabs: The Royal Trophy was on display as Ye Yang tees off

Up for grabs: The Royal Trophy was on display as Ye Yang tees off

A wedge approach into the par-four first was accompanied by a long, posed follow-through – the equivalent of the ‘save for the cameras’ in football – as the ball flew straight at the flag and stopped four feet from the pin.

Ishikawa is known as ‘the Bashful Prince’ back home, but this was a showman working the crowd in a way the rather arrogant Prince, of musical fame, would approve.

But it was not to last. The putt shaved the hole leaving Ishikawa flabbergasted. A stunning approach to the fifth was a rare highlight in a round consisting mainly of piercing drives but sloppy iron play.

Despite being 50 yards longer off the tee than one of his opponents, Francesco Molinari, he was unable to match the two-time Ryder Cup veteran’s precision into the greens.

Then he started to falter off the tee too, splashing down in the lake with an ugly slice on the eighth, and began to find fairway bunkers with ease.

As Duran Duran might have sung, his name is Ryo and he likes playing from the sand. Ishikawa and fellow Japenese Yoshinori Fujimoto found themselves two holes down to the Molinari brothers at the turn and wilting in the stifling tropical heat.

All looked lost, but Fujimoto had other ideas. Sleeves pulled up, in the manner of Andy Roddick, over his impossibly square shoulders, he started firing at pins and sparked life back into the contest. And then, the moment we’d all been waiting for.

Raptures: Ishikawa received a warm reception in the opening ceremony, a much louder applause than Ryder Cup stars such as Miguel Angel Jimenez

Raptures: Ishikawa received a warm reception in the opening ceremony, a much louder applause than Ryder Cup stars such as Miguel Angel Jimenez

With his playing partner in trouble after driving towards the beach on the 549-yard long 15th, an under-pressure Ishikawa launched a lusty blow off the tee before firing a laser-guided missile into the green. His ball finished nine feet from the pin and the putt was sunk for an eagle three, the first of the week on any par-five here.

The fire was lit in Ishikawa’s belly and he followed that with another belter into the green at the short 16th.

Fujimoto’s birdie meant he did not need to complete his own near-certain two. After finding sand off the tee on the 17th, he blasted his approach out of the bunker to 10 feet. The Molinaris missed longer birdie putts and the match was over, the Japanese winning three up.

It wasn’t the most polished performance and it remains to be seen whether he can succeed under such an intense media glare. Helping Asia to come from a point behind and beat Europe in Sunday’s singles here may also be beyond his powers.

He takes on Henrik Stenson tomorrow.

But with two of the most fabulous blows you will ever see in any golf tournament across the globe, this young superstar won a new admirer.

If Ishikawa really is the Justin Bieber of golf… then I’m a Belieber.

Indonesia earthquake: Tim Bresnan tweets tsunami fear ahead of wedding in Maldives

England all-rounder Bresnan and fiancee in tsunami fear ahead of wedding in Maldives

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UPDATED:

14:18 GMT, 11 April 2012

England and Yorkshire all-rounder Tim Bresnan has been caught up in the tsunami scare engulfing Asia after an 8.7 magnitude quake struck off the Indonesia coast.

Bresnan is in the Maldives – just three hours from the epicentre of the quake – with fiancee Hannah Battye who he is due to marry on Thursday.

Panic spread across the Indian Ocean after tsunami warnings were issued following two massive tremors in the same region that was devastated in the 2004 Boxing Day disaster which struck the province.

Tsunami fears: Bresnan with Battye - seen here at Elwood beach in Melbourne last year

Tsunami fears: Bresnan with Battye – seen here at Elwood beach in Melbourne last year

Bresnan – fresh from another winning performance with England against Sri Lanka in Colombo – tweeted his anxiety as he and his future wife waited nervously in their hotel.

He said: 'Just sat around reception in the Maldives with a life jacket on waiting for the tsunami to hit. Not ideal the day before my wedding.'

However, as the day progressed, tsunami warnings were downgraded to such an extent that those on the islands of the Maldives were deemed to be safe.

On hearing the news, Bresnan's fiancee Battye tweeted: 'Well I think @timbresnan thought he had nearly got out of it! Nope ding ding the bells are going to chime. #we'regettingmarriedinthemorning'.

The news comes on the same day that Bresnan has been named one of Wisden's Five Cricketers of the Year.

Bresnan has been honoured in this year’s edition of the cricketers' almanack, which is published tomorrow.

Panic: Thousands are fleeing to higher ground after two huge earthquakes struck off the Indonesia coast

Panic: Thousands are fleeing to higher ground after two huge earthquakes struck off the Indonesia coast

Panic: Thousands are fleeing to higher ground after two huge earthquakes struck off the Indonesia coast

Named alongside Bresnan are his England
team-mate Alastair Cook, Lancashire's Championship-winning captain Glen
Chapple, Worcestershire seamer Alan Richardson and Sri Lankan star Kumar
Sangakkara.

The Five Cricketers of the Year are chosen by the editor of Wisden, a tradition that dates back to 1889.

'It's a very select membership and I'm over the moon to receive such a prestigious honour,' said Bresnan.

'To be included alongside the four other players this year and the great names of the past is very special indeed.'

Wisden editor – and Sportsmail cricket writer – Lawrence Booth said: 'Tim Bresnan touched the heights of world-class all-rounder against India, hitting a powerful 90 to assert England's dominance at Trent Bridge, and taking 16 wickets at 16 apiece, including possibly the ball of the series to dismiss Rahul Dravid at Edgbaston.'

Honour: Bresnan has been named on of the cricketers of the year by Wisden

Honour: Bresnan has been named on of the cricketers of the year by Wisden