Ryo Ishikawa arrives at Turnberry to make his Open Championship debut and gets grouped with Tiger Woods and Lee Westwood. This Japanese golf star is 17 years old. How can someone of that age cope with the day-to-day demands of being a professional sportsman, yet alone the pressures of playing with Woods, a winner of 14 Majors, arguably the most famous sportsman on the planet, a spectator magnet and well, basically, The Daddy?
Personally, I’d be terrified to point of being physical unwell. That said, I’m not quite as good as Ishikawa, aka ‘The Bashful Price’, and I dare say the lad has more self-belief after winning the odd tournament on the Asian Tour.
Of course, it’s not just golf that produces such outrageously talented young superstars. Pele won a World Cup with Brazil at 17. Boris Becker conquered Wimbledon at 17. In fact, think of any sport you like and you’d probably find one of its greats arrived on the scene fresh out of school.
However, I can’t yet think of another sport that would place such pressure on young shoulders than golf. How many times when you’ve been under pressure have you seen that little white ball become even smaller or seen that hole shrink as you line up a crucial putt? There are no gimmes here and no teammates to bail you out. You’re on your own. That’s pressure. Good luck Ryo.