Thursday Jan. 22, 2009
UNDATED (AP) -- Japanese teenager Ryo Ishikawa has received a special invitation from Augusta National that puts the 17-year-old from Japan in line to become the second-youngest player to compete in the Masters.
Ishikawa will be the youngest player at the Masters since Tommy Jacobs competed as an amateur in 1952 at 17 years, one month and 21 days. Ishikawa, a senior in high school who already has won twice in Japan, turned 17 four months ago.
Augusta National awarded Ishikawa the invitation it sets aside for international players. It has gone to Asian-born players every year since 2003, when no such exemption was offered. Greg Norman was the last non-Asian to received the "special foreign invitation" in 2002.
Ishikawa, the youngest player to crack the top 100 in the world ranking, already is at No. 60 and might have been able to qualify on his own depending on he played over the next two months. He is the highest-ranked player to receive the foreign invitation since Shingo Katayama was No. 58 in 2005.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)