Ishikawa to donate 2011 winnings to Japan relief efforts

Japanese golf star Ryo Ishikawa has pledged to donate all his 2011 winnings to relief efforts aimed at helping victims of the earthquake and tsunami that devastated his country, according to Wednesday’s Kyodo News. The 19-year-old star will also write checks for $1,200 for each birdie he posts, the publication reported.

Many professional golfers are known for their generosity when it comes to charitable giving. I.K. Kim donated her entire $200,000 paycheck to philanthropic organizations when she won the 2010 Lorena Ochoa Invitational. LPGA stars Cristie Kerr and Morgan Pressel have raised millions to increase breast cancer awareness. The top women golfers played entirely for charity in the LPGA Founders Cup earlier this month.

For Ishikawa, his altruism could add up to more than $2 million for organizations directly involved with assisting those affected by the disasters in Japan. Ishikawa earned some $1.8 million in 2010 and chalked up 341 birdies last year, the News calculated.

”I’ve set my goal at 200 million yen in total,” Ishikawa told Japan Today. ”I know recovery in the quake-affected areas will take a long time. I’d like to strive together with the victims in recovery efforts.”

The teen phenom joined Japanese players Ai Miyazato, Mika Miyazato, and Momuku Ueda who, earlier this month, launched a website dedicated to raising funds for Japanese recovery aid. The three, in Japan during the disaster, designed and distributed buttons that they and others wore during last week’s LPGA Kia Classic. The message, in Japanese, read: “Never Give Up Japan.” As of Thursday morning, the website had raised more than $6,000 in personal donations.

Ishikawa, by the way, will be in next week’s Masters field.

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