All eyes on Ryo in Florida...

Published:

The sunshine state of Florida has become the Land of the Rising Sun. Well, for this week anyway...

OK, there's no Tiger or Phil Mickelson at the Transitions Championship which gets underway tomorrow, so left to take centre stage is teenage Japanese sensation Ryo Ishikawa.

And following Ryo practically wherever he goes at the US PGA Tour event at Innisbrook Golf Resort just outside Tampa is a mass of Japanese media and journos hoping and praying for the ultimate story...an Ishikawa victory.

The 17-year-old has already put himself into the record books by becoming the youngest player to win on the Japanese tour and no doubt he's looking to put on a good show before next month's US Masters  - like in Tampa, he's received a special invitation to take part.

There's no doubt there's a lot of pressure on the kid's lean shoulders but he's determined and is confident he can follow in the tracks of his hero, Tiger Woods. 

That may be a long shot, but only time will tell and the next few weeks should provide a good indicator of his unquestioned potential.

In his press conference yesterday afternoon he declared: "I never feel any pressure playing golf. I just need to focus on my game."

About his astonishing popular back home he revealed: "I cannot walk around in Japan on my own - probably I'm not brave enough to do that."

But who knows? May be young Ryo will be celebratory 'dunked' in one of the huge swimming pools just yards from the 18th green at this amazing resort which has three other 18 hole courses plotted around the heavily wooded 900 acres resort.

However, getting to the top in golf can be a rocky road. Just ask former Open champ David Duval who has dramatically slipped from grace in recent years though he was working hard on the range yesterday in the hope that the good times will return...