Archive for ‘Sport’

November 5, 2011

Tokyo Tourism and Tokyo City Keiba: 4 lovely days of horse racing in early November

Tokyo Tourism and Tokyo City Keiba: 4 lovely days of horse racing in early November

Joachim de Villiers and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

November starts today and if you have free time available between November 1and November 4, you have four fantastic days of horse racing at Tokyo City Keiba. Also, with hot and mild weather forecast for the next few days then Tokyo City Keiba is an ideal place to enjoy fantastic racing from the early afternoon to late evening.

Of course the emphasis is on horse racing and the views of every race can be seen by all because of the lovely layout of this horse race track. Not only this, you can decide on a little luxury if you desire because the amenities available makes everything so much more pleasurable.

The real beauty of Tokyo City Keiba is that the stunning lighting system and watching horse racing when the last rays of sunshine have dimmed, means that the atmosphere is electric. The owners of Tokyo City Keiba have managed to fuse together quality horse racing, a stunning atmosphere, places to eat and drink, abundance choice of viewing areas, and the modern feel of sport in the heart of Tokyo is “a real winner.”

Tokyo City Keiba really cares about image and being user friendly. Therefore, this lovely horse racing track caters for all and sundry. This applies to your real horse racing enthusiast; business and hospitality; a romantic evening where you can watch horse racing and eat delicious food; a nice relaxing evening for friends and individuals; and creating a high quality race meeting which caters for the younger generation and ladies.

Also, if you have an early morning flight from Haneda Airport and you are staying in a hotel the day before you travel, then for the next few days you can enjoy your evening before your flight at Tokyo City Keiba.  After all, this horse race meeting is so convenient and you have many nice restaurants to visit while you soak up the atmosphere of the best afternoon to evening sporting venue in Tokyo.

In the last article about Tokyo City Keiba by Modern Tokyo Times it was stated that “In 2003 the L-wing was opened and part of the aim of this was to attract more ladies to horse racing and the indoor gardens, color projections, restaurants, and other factors, all created modernity and a relaxing atmosphere. The L-wing was obviously designed to enhance Tokyo City Keiba for all clients but it was partly aimed at making the race meeting user-friendly for everyone.”

“The L-wing and the contrasting light schemes enhance the atmosphere because the lighting change from dusk to “Twinkle” (night racing) is a nice touch. Therefore, it is clear that the owners of this race track are innovative and willing to make modern changes in order to reach new clients. However, all modern changes have flowed nicely because the management desire to keep regulars and attract new people to horse racing.”

Not only this, the Diamond Turn area is a great place to enjoy scrumptious food, the spacious amenities provided and to relax in style while watching horse racing at its very best.  Management at Tokyo City Keiba are innovative, always thinking one step ahead and because of this you have a lovely environment which caters for racing enthusiasts and new people to horse racing.

Both writers of this article have been to top notch horse race meetings in England and France (Aintree, Ascot, Chantilly, Chester, Epsom, Longchamp, and Newmarket) and without a shadow of a doubt Tokyo City Keiba provides its own unique ambience. This applies to the stunningly illuminated track; modernity of the horse racing stands; welcoming environment; and staff members who are available to help.

On top of all this, you have a wide choice of other areas which adds spice to the sporting nature and entertainment aspect of Tokyo City Keiba. This applies to restaurants, gardens, color projections, the natural buzz of watching horse racing at night and the warm hospitality on show.

Tokyo City Keiba is in the heart of Tokyo and only takes 25 minutes from Ginza and irrespective of where you stay in Tokyo, this lovely horse racing track is a real treasure. Therefore, Tokyo City Keiba adds spice to both the sporting nature of this ultra-modern city and the horse racing on show and the lovely environment is really enticing.

Finally, if your Japanese isn’t up to scratch then don’t worry because if you visit the website of Tokyo City Keiba, then you can learn how easy it is to bet because of quality guides to help tourists on this website. 

Therefore, if you are lucky to have free time in Tokyo during the first four days of November or you have a flight from Haneda Airport, then why not visit Tokyo City Keiba? After all, you can enjoy a lovely day of quality horse racing and enjoy the fantastic entertainment provided by this stunning horse race track. 

Tokyo City Keiba stands for “quality,” “innovation” and “sporting excellence” and all this is provided in the heart of Tokyo. Why wait?

http://www.tokyocitykeiba.com/index.php 

http://www.tokyocitykeiba.com/04/english_top.php 

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com 

http://moderntokyotimes.com 

November 1, 2011

Tokyo Tourism and Tokyo City Keiba: 4 lovely days of horse racing Nov 1 to Nov 4

Tokyo Tourism and Tokyo City Keiba: 4 lovely days of horse racing Nov 1 to Nov 4

Joachim de Villiers and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

November starts today and if you have free time available between November 1and November 4, you have four fantastic days of horse racing at Tokyo City Keiba. Also, with hot and mild weather forecast for the next few days then Tokyo City Keiba is an ideal place to enjoy fantastic racing from the early afternoon to late evening.

Of course the emphasis is on horse racing and the views of every race can be seen by all because of the lovely layout of this horse race track. Not only this, you can decide on a little luxury if you desire because the amenities available makes everything so much more pleasurable.

The real beauty of Tokyo City Keiba is that the stunning lighting system and watching horse racing when the last rays of sunshine have dimmed, means that the atmosphere is electric. The owners of Tokyo City Keiba have managed to fuse together quality horse racing, a stunning atmosphere, places to eat and drink, abundance choice of viewing areas, and the modern feel of sport in the heart of Tokyo is “a real winner.”

Tokyo City Keiba really cares about image and being user friendly. Therefore, this lovely horse racing track caters for all and sundry. This applies to your real horse racing enthusiast; business and hospitality; a romantic evening where you can watch horse racing and eat delicious food; a nice relaxing evening for friends and individuals; and creating a high quality race meeting which caters for the younger generation and ladies.

Also, if you have an early morning flight from Haneda Airport and you are staying in a hotel the day before you travel, then for the next few days you can enjoy your evening before your flight at Tokyo City Keiba.  After all, this horse race meeting is so convenient and you have many nice restaurants to visit while you soak up the atmosphere of the best afternoon to evening sporting venue in Tokyo.

In the last article about Tokyo City Keiba by Modern Tokyo Times it was stated that “In 2003 the L-wing was opened and part of the aim of this was to attract more ladies to horse racing and the indoor gardens, color projections, restaurants, and other factors, all created modernity and a relaxing atmosphere. The L-wing was obviously designed to enhance Tokyo City Keiba for all clients but it was partly aimed at making the race meeting user-friendly for everyone.”

“The L-wing and the contrasting light schemes enhance the atmosphere because the lighting change from dusk to “Twinkle” (night racing) is a nice touch. Therefore, it is clear that the owners of this race track are innovative and willing to make modern changes in order to reach new clients. However, all modern changes have flowed nicely because the management desire to keep regulars and attract new people to horse racing.”

Not only this, the Diamond Turn area is a great place to enjoy scrumptious food, the spacious amenities provided and to relax in style while watching horse racing at its very best.  Management at Tokyo City Keiba are innovative, always thinking one step ahead and because of this you have a lovely environment which caters for racing enthusiasts and new people to horse racing.

Both writers of this article have been to top notch horse race meetings in England and France (Aintree, Ascot, Chantilly, Chester, Epsom, Longchamp, and Newmarket) and without a shadow of a doubt Tokyo City Keiba provides its own unique ambience. This applies to the stunningly illuminated track; modernity of the horse racing stands; welcoming environment; and staff members who are available to help.

On top of all this, you have a wide choice of other areas which adds spice to the sporting nature and entertainment aspect of Tokyo City Keiba. This applies to restaurants, gardens, color projections, the natural buzz of watching horse racing at night and the warm hospitality on show.

Tokyo City Keiba is in the heart of Tokyo and only takes 25 minutes from Ginza and irrespective of where you stay in Tokyo, this lovely horse racing track is a real treasure. Therefore, Tokyo City Keiba adds spice to both the sporting nature of this ultra-modern city and the horse racing on show and the lovely environment is really enticing.

Finally, if your Japanese isn’t up to scratch then don’t worry because if you visit the website of Tokyo City Keiba, then you can learn how easy it is to bet because of quality guides to help tourists on this website. 

Therefore, if you are lucky to have free time in Tokyo during the first four days of November or you have a flight from Haneda Airport, then why not visit Tokyo City Keiba? After all, you can enjoy a lovely day of quality horse racing and enjoy the fantastic entertainment provided by this stunning horse race track. 

Tokyo City Keiba stands for “quality,” “innovation” and “sporting excellence” and all this is provided in the heart of Tokyo. Why wait?

http://www.tokyocitykeiba.com/index.php 

http://www.tokyocitykeiba.com/04/english_top.php 

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com 

http://moderntokyotimes.com 

October 25, 2011

Tokyo Tourism: Tokyo City Keiba is a lovely horse racing course

Tokyo Tourism: Tokyo City Keiba is a lovely horse racing course

Joachim de Villiers and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

 

Images of tourism in Tokyo applies to exquisite gardens, lovely Buddhist temples, spiritual Shinto shrines, ultra-modernity, electronic town in Akihabara, sublime fashion (Aoyama, Daiganyama, Ebisu, Ginza, Harajuku, Ikebukuro, Jiyugaoka, Omotesando, Shibuya, Shinjuku, and Yurakucho), ukiyo-e, kabuki, museums in Ueno, ultra-modern Odaiba, Tokyo Imperial Palace, and so much more. However, sometimes it is nice to unwind in the early evening and sit back and watch the entertainment on offer.  Therefore, Tokyo City Keiba is such a place to enjoy and watch horse racing from afternoon to night racing.

Also, because the meeting is conveniently located and finishes not too late, then the night is still young enough to chill out in many trendy parts of Tokyo. Not only this, you can enjoy a nice meal at restaurants inside Tokyo City Keiba and enjoy the different cultural aspects of racing in Japan.

Horse racing is truly international and this applies to America, Australia, France, Hong Kong, Ireland, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and other parts of the world like Dubai. This in itself means that Tokyoites, individuals working in Tokyo but residing in other prefectures, and tourists to Tokyo can enjoy a sport which is liked and respected throughout the globe.

It takes approximately 25 minutes from Ginza to reach this lovely course and the floodlights have been done elegantly.  Therefore, the view is very pleasing and this adds to the occasion. Not only this, the cost of entering Tokyo City Keiba is so cheap that it is pointless to mention how much. 

Of course, if you want to sit in more up-market areas then you will have to pay but if you prefer the stands which are open to everybody, it is still fantastic because the view of the entire race is clearly visible to the eye at all times.

In 2003 the L-wing was opened and part of the aim of this was to attract more ladies to horse racing and the indoor gardens, color projections, restaurants, and other factors, all created modernity and a relaxing atmosphere. The L-wing was obviously designed to enhance Tokyo City Keiba for all clients but it was partly aimed at making the race meeting user-friendly for everyone. 

The L-wing and the contrasting light schemes enhance the atmosphere because the lighting change from dusk to “Twinkle” (night racing) is a nice touch. Therefore, it is clear that the owners of this race track are innovative and willing to make modern changes in order to reach new clients. However, all modern changes have flowed nicely because the management desire to keep regulars and attract new people to horse racing.

This approach is based on thinking about the bigger picture and maintaining the power of horse racing in the heart of Tokyo. After all, sport is a very competitive market and Tokyoites and tourists who may visit desire a quality meeting, whereby you can enjoy many aspects of horse racing and other forms of entertainment which is provided.

The Diamond Turn is also a great place to watch horse racing, enjoy tasty food and sit back and enjoy the racing in comfort. Therefore if you want to enjoy the spacious amenities provided by the Diamond Turn you won’t regret.

The stunningly illuminated track and modernity of Tokyo City Keiba makes this a great place to unwind. It is well worth a visit irrespective if you are a Tokyoite, new to Tokyo, work in Tokyo but reside in other prefectures or a tourist to Tokyo.

Horse race meetings (http://www.tokyocitykeiba.com/index.php) are held regularly and just check the website provided above which also can be viewed in English.

Twinkle racing is great to watch and a nice way to enjoy the evening. Therefore, if you want to visit a special sporting arena which is spicy and entertaining, Tokyo City Keiba is just the place to unwind and enjoy all the entertainment which is provided.

http://www.tokyocitykeiba.com/index.php

http://www.tokyocitykeiba.com/04/english_top.php

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

September 16, 2011

Rugby Union 2011 World Cup: New Zealand too strong for Japan

Rugby Union 2011 World Cup: New Zealand too strong for Japan

Jay Doggett and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

New Zealand 83 Japan 7

 

New Zealand outplayed Japan and the writing was on the wall within four minutes when New Zealand scored an early try and converted to take a 7-0 lead.  Smith scored for New Zealand and he no pressure on him because the Japanese defence was non-existent.

The next ten minutes saw very little apart from New Zealand missing a penalty. However, New Zealand once more broke free and Kahui like Smith found it all too easy but the conversion was missed and within minutes another try was scored by New Zealand.

Luckily, Slade once more missed the conversion despite the kick being relatively easy and clearly he needs to get his game together. After all, in a close match, then Slade can’t afford to be the weak link. Therefore, with Japan being 17-0 down after less than 25 minutes it was abundantly clear that the underdogs needed to focus otherwise the game would run up a cricket score.

However, no change and Japan really looked like minnows and lost against “the real big boys of rugby union.”  This was further witnessed when another try was scored by New Zealand and with the conversion also converted then Japan were trailing 24-0 after 30 minutes.  Yet there would be no respite and Ellis scored the fifth try a few minutes later and with the score being 31-0 then Japan just wanted half time to come in order to refocus.

Slade, who may have had early problems with kicking, had no problem with scoring the sixth try after Ellis made a nice pass to him. To make matters worse New Zealand were now scoring easily under the post and this meant that the conversion was easy.  Therefore, New Zealand was matching the minute scoreboard and the lead now stretched to 38-0 shortly before half-time.

Straight away after the second-half began New Zealand ran at Japan and some sloppy play by Japan followed by a shockingly low pass and a handling error.  New Zealand made early changes and this made sense because the game was already in the bag. 

Within minutes of the change New Zealand scored again with Kahui scoring. Ominously, Slade now had his kicking boots back on and the cricket score was beginning to materialize with the score being 45-0.

Williams then scored under the post and the lead was now 52-0 with New Zealand scoring roughly one point per minute at this point.  The game was no longer because now it was a training game for the All Blacks.

More alarming for Japan, this was the first game where one team had scored more than 50 points and other minnows up until now had played respectably.  All the positives from the game against France were being blown away and another score made it 59-0.

However, the crowd erupted when Japan broke free from a mistake by New Zealand and scored for the first time in the game.  59-7 may not look good, and clearly it isn’t, but the crowd appreciated the score by Japan.

Sadly, the respite did not last long because Hore and Nonu both scored quick tries for New Zealand.  Luckily Slade couldn’t convert either and the score was kept down to 69-7. 

More changes were made by New Zealand and clearly the coach was focused on future games and creating a strong tight unit.  However, all New Zealand players are strong and it made no difference to the game.  Therefore, relentless All Black pressure continued and their shape looked perfect despite all the changes.

Thomson scored try number 12 for the All Blacks after a few minutes of quiet play and with the score reaching 76-7 then the cricket score had materialized. Within minutes another try was scored and the game would finish 83-7.

Overall, the game was too easy for New Zealand and nothing positive came out of the game for Japan. All the good work against France counted for nothing in this game because the All Blacks were a different kettle of fish.

http://moderntokyotimes.com

September 10, 2011

Rugby Union 2011 World Cup: Japan pushes France all the way

Rugby Union 2011 World Cup: Japan pushes France all the way

Jay Doggett and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The 2011 Rugby Union World Cup started with New Zealand winning easily against Tongo. However, with Romania playing fantastically against Scotland before losing 34-24 then hopes were high that Japan would be inspired. Japan was more than inspired because they played lovely flowing rugby and the whole of Japan and supporters in the North Harbour Stadium were riveted.

After 65 minutes of the game the score was France 25 Japan 21 and James Arlidge was in supreme form.  By this time Arlidge had scored two tries and with Takashi Kikutani, the captain, playing so strongly and with great passion, then the early period of the second half witnessed a powerful Japan between the renewal of the second half and up until 65 minutes.

During this period it even appeared that Japan would go on and push for a victory but the effort that Japan put in took its toll.  France didn’t outplay Japan in the first 65 minutes and clearly Japan has shown every major rugby team that France is weak in many areas.

At half time Japan trailed France by 25 to 11 and clearly they kept their heads held high and the team talk by John Kirwan did the trick. Even when Japan fell behind 21 to 35 they kept on pushing and tried valiantly to score.

Japan clearly showed the world that they can play lovely flowing and attacking rugby in their opening game. Sadly, the final score is misleading because France defeated a tired Japan and a team which was trying to score.

France made Japan pay for some sloppy ball handling near the end but throughout the match it was Japan who played flowing rugby and not France.

The final scoreline of France 47 Japan 21 does not tell the truth because France defeated a jaded Japan.  In the first 65 minutes you only had 4 points between both teams and it was the physical strength of France that won the day and made the score look easy.  However, in truth, the game was far from easy because Japan played fantastic rugby until getting tired.

http://moderntokyotimes.com

August 12, 2011

PGA Championship: Ryo Ishikawa and Tiger Woods play terrible on day one

PGA Championship: Ryo Ishikawa and Tiger Woods play terrible on day one

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The PGA Championship on day one for Ryo Ishikawa and Tiger Woods was a day to forget.  All the good work done by Ryo Ishikawa last week seemed like a dream and the 80 he shot in the British Open this year appeared mild in comparison with the 85 he shot today.  Therefore, Ryo Ishikawa’s topsy-turvy season continues and while he is good enough to challenge the elite he does lack consistency and this aspect of his golf needs to be remedied.

Tiger Woods also played terrible and he shot 77 and clearly something is amiss with his game at the moment and it is not just about carrying injuries or family related issues.  The Tiger Woods of old was very different and he needs to refocus and clear his mind of everything and play to his strengths. This especially applies to punishing par 5’s which were easy for him in the past.

Who would have guessed that Ryo Ishikawa would finish 15 over on day one and that Tiger Woods would finish on 7 over? However, we all know that in sport that anything is possible and sadly this was a day of disaster for both players.

Ryo Ishikawa commented after putting six shots into the water that “I think this is probably the first time I hit so many in the water” and with his score so high he just “stopped counting.”

In truth, the last 7 days sum up Ryo Ishikawa’s season because many high points have been followed by low points.  These low points include shooting 80, 83 and 85 this year and clearly something is wrong with his game when it applies to consistency. 

Ryo Ishikawa also stated through an interpreter that “It was my technique that was the culprit” but on an optimistic note he said that “The last five holes I felt my swing came back……For tomorrow, I’d like to get that swing and have a good 18 holes.”

Adam Scott who won the Bridgestone Invitational last week commented that “When things start going the wrong way on a course like this, you can’t hide……It was a tough day for him because I’m sure he would’ve been feeling good after last week.”

Tiger Woods was clearly livid by the way he played because at one point he was -3 and playing really well and the next minute his round just fell apart.  He stated that “I was 3 under early, and I said, you know what, every shot I hit up to that point were all mechanical thoughts, I put the club in a certain position, and I was doing that and I said, you know what, I’m feeling good. Let’s just let it go. And it cost me the whole round.”

Tiger Woods continued by saying “I’m really angry right now. So there are a lot of words I could use beyond that.” In fairness, he did not hide and instead gave a frank opinion of how he played and was honest about his feelings.

Other major news from day one is that Steve Stricker played flawless golf and finished -7 on day one and Jerry Kelly finished -5. Therefore, both players will rest well tonight.

However, Rory McIlroy may have to pull out because of an injured wrist and he is doing well to be level par after 15 holes (play is still going on). On a brighter note the young 18 year old star from Italy, Matteo Manassero, finished -2.

Ryo Ishikawa and Tiger Woods have much to ponder after day one and fans of both players will be dumbfounded by how they played.

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

 
 
August 8, 2011

Ryo Ishikawa went down fighting: victory goes to Adam Scott

Ryo Ishikawa went down fighting: victory goes to Adam Scott

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Ryo Ishikawa came of age during the Bridgestone Invitational golf tournament because for the first time he challenged all the way.  The greatest players in the world were on show and the swagger of youth emerged on the American golfing scene and now the world knows that Ryo Ishikawa at such a tender age belongs to the elite of golf.

Adam Scott from Australia played magnificently and nobody will begrudge him from lifting the Bridgestone Invitational trophy. Obviously, like the vast majority of individuals who reside in Japan and who follow golf, I had hoped that Ryo Ishikawa would have emerged victorious but Adam Scott played superb.

Therefore, full credit to Adam Scott because the leaderboard was compact and any weakness would have told but he didn’t flinch and just kept on pounding stunning shots. This eventually materialized into three quick birdies from the tenth to fourteenth hole and this changed everything because now Ryo Ishikawa and other players had to chase the leader.

Rickie Fowler, Luke Donald, Jason Day, Kim Kyung-tae, Zach Johnson and Rory McIlroy all played very well in the final round but Keegan Bradley couldn’t maintain his momentum into the final round.  Lee Westwood also had a stunning final round but he was too far back before the start of round four. However, Lee Westwood will be very pleased by how he finished the tournament and the same applies to Luke Donald who is at the top of his game.

Ryo Ishikawa had been the joint leader at one point but the three quick fire birdies by Adam Scott between the tenth and fourteenth must have took its toll on Ryo Ishikawa.  After all, his dream of winning for the first time in America was all but over by the 15th unless Adam Scott wilted late on, and somehow Ryo Ishikawa could find a few birdies.

However, it was never likely to happen because Adam Scott looked like the Adam Scott of the past.  It must be remembered that Adam Scott was ranked number three in the world in early 2007 and clearly he knows how to win because the latest victory means number eight in America for the 31 year old Australian. 

Also, with such a great caddy joining Adam Scott then this must have been a big advantage because Steve Williams is the crème de la crème for caddying.  Steve Williams who did so much for Tiger Woods is already working his magic with Adam Scott and the new partnership must be sky high with the way Adam Scott played.

Ryo Ishikawa stated after round three that “I think it’s a little too early to think about winning this whole thing as of now…..But I do feel that I was able to play at a pretty good level, pretty high level today. Actually I am a little bit surprised of how I performed out there.”

Therefore, when round four began it was intriguing to see how Ryo Ishikawa would respond to all the pressure after all he could have wilted and fell back.  However, the young Ryo Ishikawa gave it his best shot and he handled the pressure with grace and a calm determination that makes him such a valuable asset in the world of golf.

The final victory went to Adam Scott who played fantastic and with Steve Williams backing him up then maybe this is the start of another great partnership, after Tiger Woods decided he needed a fresh break.

However, for Ryo Ishikawa the Bridgestone Invitational is the start of a great future because now the world knows that he belongs to the elite. More important, with this experience behind him then he can no longer have any self-doubts because he played amazing golf and answered all the questions that were asked of him.

Ryo Ishikawa is now firmly on the international scene and with Rory McIlroy playing so well again and other young players like Rickie Fowler, Jason Day and Kim Kyung-tae having a great tournament.  Then the old guard of Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson need to up their game and rekindle past magic.

Yet for Japanese golf it is all about Ryo Ishikawa and he did himself proud.

Final Result 

Adam Scott – 17

Luke Donald -13

Rickie Fowler -13

Ryo Ishikawa -12

Jason Day -12

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August 7, 2011

Ryo Ishikawa: near to making a breakthrough at the Bridgestone Invitational

Ryo Ishikawa: near to making a breakthrough at the Bridgestone Invitational

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Ryo Ishikawa is a major golfing star in Japan and this likeable golfer is on the brink of making a major breakthrough in America.  After the first three days at the Bridgestone Invitational in America he shares second place with Jason Day from Australia at -11 and only one shot behind Adam Scott from Australia, who currently leads the tournament at -12.

The leaderboard is very tight because Keegan Bradley (USA) and Martin Laird (Scotland) are -10 and Luke Donald (England), Fredrik Jacobson (Sweden) and Rickie Fowler (USA), are one shot behind at -9.  Zach Johnson (USA) is -8 and Rory McIlroy (Northern Ireland) and Steve Stricker (USA) are one shot behind.

It is most unlikely that the winner will come from further behind despite it being possible because with so many quality players in the leading group then surely the door is shut on the rest of the field.  Of course it is feasible that someone from the lower order may post a great score and enter the top five but it will be a great shock if they can win the tournament.

Ryo Ishikawa stated through an interpreter that I think it’s a little too early to think about winning this whole thing as of now…..But I do feel that I was able to play at a pretty good level, pretty high level today. Actually I am a little bit surprised of how I performed out there.”

“There were times where I had to do some trouble shots, hitting out from the woods, but when I was able to make those recovery shots, there were some really warm claps and all from the fans. So I was very happy to be out there today.”

Like usual Ryo Ishikawa was very modest and clearly he knows full well that his form is up and down this year.  Therefore, he stated that “I think the golf that I’m playing right now is unstable in a sense……And so considering that, I’m not really sure as to how I will perform tomorrow to be honest with you.”

After the 2011 U.S. Open it appeared that Ryo Ishikawa was a little dejected because he commented that “I came to painfully realize just how big of a gap there is between me and the best in the world.” He continued by stating with regards to Rory McIlroy that “He’s close to me in age so it’s been incredibly motivating. I hope I can get to that level myself one day.”

In my article about Ryo Ishikawa after the 2011 U.S. Open I stated thatFirstly, it must be remembered that Rory McIlroy who comes from Northern Ireland is a rare talent and one that only emerges every decade or so.  Not only did he blow Ishikawa away but he destroyed the entire field and Tiger Woods in his glory days could not surpass the score that McIlroy achieved at the same tournament.”

In the past on the American tour it is clear that Ryo Ishikawa often struggled and this can be seen by his one top ten finish out of 24 tournaments in America. However, it is obvious that he does have great potential and while the gap is big between the Japanese tour and America tour, it does not mean that he can’t hone his remarkable skills.

The old guard of Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson who both come from America are way behind on +1. Obviously, Tiger Woods is returning from injury but in recent times his form is in decline and Phil Mickelson is also struggling to reach former heights. However, while both are written off in this tournament it is clear that sooner or later one if not both will rebound and challenge once more.

Turning back to Ryo Ishikawa it is hoped that he will make a serious charge on the last day and take his maiden tournament win on the USA PGA Golf Tour.  If he can pick up a coveted tour win in America then clearly all the great potential will be witnessed by golf lovers from all over the world and a new Ryo Ishikawa will emerge.

However, even the worse-case scenario whereby Ryo Ishikawa struggles on the last day will not alter the facts of the first three days.  Therefore, for the first time it is clear that Ryo Ishikawa can compete at the highest level and irrespective if he finishes first, tenth or wherever, it isn’t important because now he knows he can win in America and beat the best golf players in the world.

My heart is hoping that Ryo Ishikawa will win because he is a great ambassador for Japanese golf.

However, with so many great players at the top of the leaderboard it isn’t going to be easy but at least he is in a great position to challenge. Irrespective of the final day and where Ryo Ishikawa finishes, this tournament is where he came of age and showed the real talent that he is blessed with.

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

June 23, 2011

Golf: Ryo Ishikawa should learn from Rory McIlroy the new U.S. Open Champion

Golf: Ryo Ishikawa should learn from Rory McIlroy the new U.S. Open Champion

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Ryo Ishikawa is a very likeable golfer from Japan and his heart is in the right place but something seems amiss at the moment.  Ishikawa himself stated “I came to painfully realize just how big of a gap there is between me and the best in the world,” Ishikawa commented after the 2011 U.S. Open. He continued by stating with regards to Rory McIlroy that “He’s close to me in age so it’s been incredibly motivating. I hope I can get to that level myself one day.”

Firstly, it must be remembered that Rory McIlroy who comes from Northern Ireland is a rare talent and one that only emerges every decade or so.  Not only did he blow Ishikawa away but he destroyed the entire field and Tiger Woods in his glory days could not surpass the score that McIlroy achieved at the same tournament.

Prior to McIlroy winning the U.S. Open he had started fantastically in other major tournaments but then he could not hold it together.  However, McIlroy is only 22 years of age and after the last day of the Masters this year, it was clear that he had learnt something.  Therefore, when he created a commanding lead in the U.S. Open he not only held the lead but he never allowed anyone to get even close to him.

If we look at the mindset of both Ishikawa and McIlroy then clearly they are different and this is notable when they talk about Tiger Woods.  Ishikawa stills talks admirably about Tiger Woods but McIlroy is more honest and states that he is no longer to be feared like he once was. 

Last year McIlroy stated about Tiger Woods that “Unless his game rapidly improves in the next month or so, I think anyone in the European team would fancy his chances against him.”

This comment may have been blown up out of all proportion but it does tell us about the mindset of McIlroy.  Also, it was not a brash comment at the time because it was factual and while it may have been a little blunt it showed that McIlroy is already moving on irrespective if Tiger Woods bounces back from time to time.

McIlroy clearly knows that Tiger Woods was a great player at his peak but in recent times it is clear that others have caught up with him and younger players don’t fear him.  Therefore, while the record of Tiger Woods speaks for itself and without a question of a doubt we are talking about one of the greatest players to ever play golf; it is time for Ishikawa to find the right attitude and not to feel second best.

Only a few players in the history of golf like Jack Nicklaus can be named alongside Tiger Woods and clearly Tiger Woods will still have many great tournaments in the future. Therefore, you can’t write him off because when he is in the zone then he is very special indeed and a joy to watch.  However, McIlroy and the young Matteo Manassero from Italy, and a few other young players like Rickie Fowler (USA) and Jason Day (Australia), are emerging rapidly.

Manassero looks to be a future champion in the making and he and McIlroy will clearly have great duels in the future and of course other players out of the pack will emerge. Therefore, Ishikawa’s generation and players under the age of 25 look to be a high level bunch to say the least because you have so many other young players like Danny Lee (New Zealand), Peter Uihlein (USA), Yuta Ikeda (Japan) and Kyung Tae-Kim (South Korea).

It also must be stated that Martin Kaymer (Germany), Dustin Johnson (USA) and Gary Woodland (USA) are only just over 25 years of age.  The list could be added but the point is clear because Ishikawa is one of many highly talented players who are very young.

McIlroy is already destined for great things because the U.S Open was waiting for him but with his first major under his belt, then surely the numbers will continue to add up in the future.  McIlroy is rare and he learns quickly and you can feel something special when you watch him play golf.

Ishikawa should not be too despondent or negative because nobody could get close to McIlroy in the U.S. Open. More important, he made the cut in the Masters this year and while other lesser tournaments have been rather negative; the same can’t be said about the way he played in the Masters and the U.S. Open.

I question why Ishikawa is focusing on the Japanese PGA so much because surely the European PGA or USA PGA should be his target?  He obviously does not think so but ironically Ishikawa seems to be in a little trap because clearly he can win in Japan but maybe he can no longer find the same motivation? 

Also, other players from Japan and who play on the Japanese PGA aim themselves at him because he is the star, even if it isn’t showing at the moment.  Surely, with Ishikawa reaching 20 years of age in September then a fresh start should push him on or at least level up his game.

At the moment the number one player in the world is debatable but McIlroy looks poised to take over this mantle.  However, nothing is certain in sport or life and while McIlroy looks destined for great things it is still true to comment that many young players are developing rapidly.

Tiger Woods in recent times was beset with family problems and this was followed by health problems.  He will surely challenge in the near future but not with the same consistency but a potent force nevertheless and the old guard isn’t finished yet.

For now the focus is on McIlroy because of not just winning but absolutely destroying the field at the U.S. Open.

Therefore, Ishikawa needs a clear direction in order to utilize his natural talent and maybe the commercial side should be reduced a little because while he is treated like a star and golf great in Japan; the same can’t be said about his international performances.

Yes, Ishikawa is a fantastic player and he is still very young and learning but what can he learn from playing against the same players in Japan? 

This is not taking anything away from golfers in Japan because some players are of the highest quality but collectively the Japanese tour is weak overall but it is a great to nurture talent.  Therefore, Yuta Ikeda (Japan), Kyung Tae-Kim (South Korea) and other good young players are learning the trade and then doing well in stronger fields outside of Japan.

However, for Ishikawa the Japan tour was all too easy from day one and it soon became apparent that winning in Japan would come often for Ishikawa but this year is a bit of a damp squib at the moment.  In saying that, he often finds form from out of the blue and then goes on a run where he is very consistent. 

Next year will be very important for Ishikawa because with so many good young players around and with McIlroy looking so strong; then Ishikawa needs to improve his game to a higher level.  After all, the talent is clearly visible in Ishikawa but advisors close to him must be questioned because he seems to be a little stuck at the moment and “too nice” for his own good.

Also, Ishikawa can’t rest in Japan because Hideki Matsuyama who is 19 years old and other young players have a lot of promise.  Therefore, the remainder of this year will be interesting and next year will tell us more about the place of Ishikawa amongst the rising stars of golf.

That saying, Ishikawa is still very young and clearly time is on his side.

However, with McIlroy being so strong and Manassero being blessed with so much talent then it isn’t going to be easy for Ishikawa to move to the next stage.  Also, younger players in Japan like Hideki Matsuyama and Yuta Ikeda are highly talented and Masamichi Ito who is only 15 years old should make the grade within a few years.

Therefore, the road lane is getting jammed packed and while McIlroy is out in front it is difficult to see who will join him over the next 15 years with the possible exception being Manassero.

Yes, these are great days for golf lovers and Ishikawa should not become despondent or give out too many platitudes. Instead, he needs to nurture the talent that he is blessed with and maybe a fresh change or change of management will enable him to move on to the next level?

http://www.rorymcilroy.com/

http://ryo.panasonic.co.jp/eng/

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

May 1, 2011

The graceful Miki Ando wins Gold at the Figure Skating World Championships

The graceful Miki Ando wins Gold at the Figure Skating World Championships

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Miki Ando won Gold for Japan and this graceful figure skater once more was extremely artistic. The favorite in many eyes was Kim Yu-Na from South Korea but with both being far from their impervious best then artistry was going to count. Therefore, not surprisingly the elegant and stylish Miki Ando came out on top.

Last year Kim Yu-Na was beaten by Mao Asada but this year she had to come second best to Miki Ando. Also, with the young Kanako Murakami from Japan also arriving on the scene, then this young lady may emerge to also become a potent force in figure skating.

Japan had three ladies in the top eight in the world and this bodes well for the future of Japanese figure skating. Therefore, it was great to see Miki Ando claim top place and despite not being at her very best it was more than good enough to claim first place.

Kim Yu-Na who looked so strong when she won the coveted Olympic gold medal in 2010 was given another reminder of the strength of Japanese figure skating. Last year she was second best to Mao Asada during the world championship and this year she had to play second fiddle to Miki Ando.

Another delighted lady was the composed Carolina Kostner from Italy because she moved up from sixth after the short program and finished third. Her bronze was well deserved and Alena Leonova from Russia and Alissa Czisny from America also performed with great credit with Alena Leonova coming fourth and Alissa Czisny was one place further back in fifth.

Mao Asada did improve from the short program and she moved up to sixth place overall but she clearly was never at the races after the short program because it appeared that her usual zest and majesty was missing.

Neither Miki Ando or Kim Yu-Na were at their best and Kim Yu-Na will have better days in the future whereby she will remind the world of her Olympic performance but for now she needs to regain the explosive passion that was missing in this world championship.

Therefore, with much emphasis being put on gracefulness, artistry, and poise; then this played to the strength of Miki Ando.

Overall, it was a fascinating event because no figure skater was head and shoulders above the others and the finishing points tally is evidence of this.

Carolina Kostner will clearly go home happy and Kanako Murakami also will gain tremendously from her performance.

The gold medal in the end was decided by style and panache therefore the writing was on the wall because you will not find a more exquisite and artistic figure skater than Miki Ando.

Well done to Miki Ando and congratulations to Japan for having three skaters in the top eight in the world.

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