Japanese teen Ryo Ishikawa has received a special invitation to play in this year's Masters Tournament, Augusta National Golf Club Chairman Billy Payne announced Thursday.
Ishikawa, 17, will be the second youngest golfer to play in the Masters. Tommy Jacobs holds the record at 17 years, 1 month and 21 days. Ishikawa will be 17 years, 6 months and 23 days when the tournament begins.
At a young age, Mr. Ishikawa has shown the skill and competitiveness to make him a deserving recipient of this invitation, Payne said in a prepared statement. We see this as an opportunity to expose an emerging talent on a world stage and fulfill our objective to grow the game. I am optimistic that his participation in the Masters will inspire younger players and increase interest in golf in Asia and beyond.
Ishikawa is a member of the Japan Golf Tour and is currently ranked 60th in the Official World Golf Ranking.
The 2009 Masters will be held April 6-12.