PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. -- Typically represented by one of the more international playing fields near the beginning of each PGA Tour season, the Northern Trust Open roster has been infused by the awarding of a Commissioner's Foreign Exemption to 17-year-old Japanese prodigy Ryo Ishikawa, currently the world's second-highest ranked Japanese golfer at No. 60. Ishikawa is set to make his PGA TOUR debut at the Northern Trust Open, Feb. 16-22, at Riviera Country Club.
Ishikawa is being heralded as Japan's next great hope for world golf glory. The Saitama-born teenager won his Japan Golf Tour debut as an amateur in May 2007, when he won the Munsingwear Open KSB Cup at the age of 15 years, 8 months. The next youngest Japan Golf Tour winner is Seve Ballesteros, who won the 1977 Japan Open at 20 years, 7 months.
Ishikawa turned professional in 2008 and won his second Japan Golf Tour event in November at the Mmynavi ABC Championship. Nicknamed 'Hanikami Oji' (literally translated as 'Bashful Prince') in Japan, Ishikawa owns three professional victories, having also won the 2008 Kansai Open. By the close of 2008, he had become the youngest ever golfer included to break into the top 100 of the Official World Golf Ranking.
"Ryo Ishikawa attracts `Tiger-like' attention in Asia, and it will be fun for a U.S. audience to see him for the first time at the Northern Trust Open, while fans throughout the world watch him compete against the PGA TOUR's best players," said Northern Trust Open Tournament Director Tom Pulchinski.
By the time Ishikawa tees it up in the first round at the Northern Trust Open, he will be 17 years, 5 months and 2 days of age. Four players have made a PGA TOUR cut at the age of 17 years or younger. The youngest player to win a PGA TOUR event is Johnny McDermott, who won the 1911 U.S. Open at 19 years, 10 month
The Northern Trust Open will be televised in the United States on GOLF CHANNEL (Thursday-Friday, 3-6 p.m. ET) and CBS (Saturday, 3-6 p.m.; Sunday, 3-6:30 p.m.). In Japan, early rounds will be telecast on Jupiter Golf Network, with final rounds on NHK.
About the Northern Trust Open
The tournament, held at the Riviera Country Club, is one of the most respected and revered tournaments on the PGA TOUR schedule, attracting many of the best professional players in the world of golf. It is one of the longest-running tournaments on the PGA TOUR and is the oldest civic-sponsored event, debuting in 1926 at Los Angeles Country Club. Since its inception, the tournament has generated more than $50 million for philanthropic projects and programs within Southern California.
Northern Trust announced its title sponsorship of the tournament Oct. 15, 2007, which is a five-year agreement running through 2012. For more information, please visit www.northerntrustopen.com.
About Northern Trust Corporation
Northern Trust Corporation (Nasdaq: NTRS) is a leading provider of investment management, asset and fund administration, fiduciary and banking solutions for corporations, institutions and affluent individuals worldwide. Northern Trust, a financial holding company based in Chicago, has a growing network of 85 offices in 18 U.S. states and has international offices in 15 locations in North America, Europe, the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region. As of September 30, 2008, Northern Trust had assets under custody of US$3.5 trillion, and assets under investment management of US$652.4 billion. Northern Trust, founded in 1889, has earned distinction as an industry leader in combining exceptional service and expertise with innovative products and technology. For more information, visit http://www.northerntrust.com.
About the PGA TOUR
The PGA TOUR is a tax-exempt membership organization of professional golfers. Its primary purpose is to expand the PGA TOUR domestically and internationally so as to substantially increase player financial benefits while maintaining our commitment to growth in charity and integrity to the game.
In 2009, the three Tours compete in 102 events for more than $350 million in prize money. Tournaments will be held in 10 countries outside the U.S. and in 35 states.
In addition to providing competitive opportunities for its membership, TOUR events also generate significant funds for local charities. In fact, the three Tours have surpassed the $1 billion mark in overall charitable contributions. The PGA TOUR's web site address is www.PGATOUR.COM and the company is headquartered in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL.
Kelly Mannard, SVP
Global Marketing, Communications & Community Affairs
Brener Zwikel & Associates, Inc.