Whether or not Ryo Ishikawa takes home the top prize at the Masters golf tournament, he is already a hero in his homeland of Japan.
The 19-year-old pro has decided to donate all of his 2011 earnings to disaster relief in Japan. The golfer has also offered 100,000 yen (about $1,200) for every birdie he makes.
Ishikawa has been on tour since the devastating earthquake and tsunami struck Japan last month, killing more than 12,000 people. But he wants his countrymen to know that he has not forgotten them.
“That’s one of the reasons why I decided to donate the entire earnings this year,” Ishikawa told the Los Angeles Times Monday, “so that I feel that I am with them and fighting with them side by side, although I will not be with them physically.”
Based on Ishikawa’s winnings of $1.82 million last year, plus his average of 341 birdies, Ishikawa’s total contribution to disaster relief could exceed $2.2 million. Of course, a win at the Masters, which is worth more than $1 million, would mean even more funds for his country.
“I hope that this will contribute to those people so that they will be encouraged,” he added.