SBD/Issue 161/Leagues & Governing Bodies

McIlroy, Ishikawa Offer Glimpse Of Future With Thrilling Wins

McIlroy Among A Group Of Young Golfers
Creating A Needed Buzz Around The Sport

Golf fans on Sunday got a "glimpse into where the professional game is going," as Rory McIlroy earned his first PGA Tour win at the Quail Hollow Championship at the age of 20, while 18-year-old Ryo Ishikawa shot a 58 in the final round to win on the Japan Golf Tour, according to Ron Green Jr. of the CHARLOTTE OBSERVER. Every week "someone wins a PGA Tour event," but "rarely do they win with the impact and flourish that McIlroy did." McIlroy was "already an enormous star in Europe, given his success as an amateur in and around Northern Ireland," and his performance Sunday "made him a star here." Meanwhile, Ishikawa is "already being proclaimed the savior of professional golf in his homeland." McIlroy, Ishikawa, Rickie Fowler and Anthony Kim are the "game's next generation," and they are "already here." McIlroy: "I speak on behalf of all the early 20-somethings out here. Tiger was the guy we all looked up to and the guy we followed. I think he's been the reason that the likes of Ryo, myself, AK, Danny Lee, all the younger guys have flourished at such an early age, because Tiger set the benchmark so high. We want to achieve that. Even if we don't quite get to that level, it's still pretty good." Green writes, "On Sunday, the world saw just how good" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 5/4). CBSSPORTS.com's Steve Elling wrote McIlroy, Ishikawa and 17-year-old Matteo Manassero "have more than age in common," as with their "collective maturity, panache and poise, the game's future looks pretty solid, indeed" (CBSSPORTS.com, 5/3).

GENERATION NOW: YAHOO SPORTS' Brian Murphy wrote, "Was May 2, 2010, a red-letter day in golf, when Generation Y ... arrived like a full-force gale? Only history will tell." But after the impact of McIlroy's final-round 62 at the Quail Hollow Championship and Ishikawa's 58 settle, "we may be calling these kids 'Generation Why Not?'" Perhaps "most shocking of all is how tired and old the notion of Tiger Woods now seems," as the "freshness of McIlroy's story --  and Ishikawa's 58 -- contrast so sharply to the growing staleness around Tiger's legend." Ishikawa was "brilliant on a losing side at last year's Presidents Cup, and the 58 only whets our appetite for his debut U.S. Open appearance." Meanwhile, Padraig Harrington, Jim Furyk and Jim MacKay, Phil Mickelson's caddie, were among those to congratulate McIlroy immediately after his round. Murphy: "To see all that was to see a golf world embrace the new kid in town, and to read into that the existence of a little Tiger Fatigue would not be the wrong call at all. Throw in a springtime rebirth for Mickelson ... and you have Tiger wondering where he fits in at this party" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 5/3). FanHouse.com's Jay Mariotti said, "We're waiting for youngsters to emerge with Woods struggling. Now we've got a couple of them doing that this week" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 5/3).

A CHANGING OF THE GUARD? ESPN's Michael Wilbon said fans are “looking at a much greater chance of having a changing of the guard” in the sport with the performances of players like McIlroy, Kim and Ishikawa. Wilbon: “There seems to be something dynamic, particularly about McIlroy and Kim" ("PTI," ESPN, 5/3). In London, Derek Lawrenson writes, "At this, the dawning of a new era, the man in front is McIlory. ... If you've been looking for a reason to fall in love with golf, McIlroy is it." McIlroy, Ishikawa and Manassero are "three genuinely nice kids, all blessed with wondrous gifts," and "suddenly, the winter of scandal seems a blessedly long time ago" (London DAILY MAIL, 5/4). Meanwhile, Golf Channel's Rich Lerner said of McIlroy's final-round performance at the Quail Hollow Championship, "This had to be a little bit like LeBron James in his second year going off for 55 points, where you stop and say, 'My goodness, this guy has a lot of game. Serious game.' One of the best final rounds outside of a major championship in the history of this sport" ("Golf Central," Golf Channel, 5/3).

Japan Golf Tour Exec Says Ishikawa Has
Saved Tour From Financial Ruin

SHOOTING STAR: Japan Golf Tour Exec Dir Andy Yamanaka said that Ishikawa, whose win Sunday was his seventh on the tour, "has saved Japan's struggling JGTO men's golf tour from financial ruin." Yamanaka: "It's fair to say (he rescued the JGTO Tour). Before he appeared, people were losing interest in men's golf. The men's tour at that time didn't have a star player like Ryo Ishikawa. Players were rude to fans and didn't turn up to official functions. Their behaviour wasn't professional. Ryo woke up a lot of the players." Yamanaka said of Ishikawa's financial impact, "I couldn't estimate the figures. Because of his presence there is more income for sponsors and better ticket sales of course. ... You have no idea how many women and kids come to watch. Not just young ladies but mothers who want their kids to be like Ryo Ishikawa." Meanwhile, REUTERS' Alastair Himmer wrote "losing their cash cow to more lucrative overseas tours remains a constant fear for JGTO officials." Yamanaka: "He's got 19 endorsements and more than 12 or 13 TV commercials. We worry about the future -- him going to the U.S. or Europe and imagine if that happens what would our tour become?" (REUTERS, 5/3).

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