Teenage protégé Ryo Ishikawa will make his US Masters debut in April after accepting an invitation to take part in the Augusta National showpiece.
The 17-year-old is ranked 60th in the world after a promising year on the Japanese Tour, and is widely tipped to take the game by storm in the coming years.
Ishikawa admitted the telephone invitation was not easy to understand, although he was able to make sense of the key words.
“I got the call last night. Of course everything was in English and I couldn’t understand it well. But I could understand ‘Masters’ and ‘invitation’ and that’s when I knew what was happening,” he said.
“It’s always been my dream to play in the Masters, It’s like a fantasy for me. I’ve seen the Masters only on TV. And now I’m so excited that I’m actually going there. I’ll try not to be too nervous on the first tee.”
The invitation is reserved for an international player, and club chairman Billy Payne felt Ishikawa was the perfect candidate.
He said: “At a young age, Mr. Ishikawa has shown the skill and competitiveness to make him a deserving recipient of this invitation.
“I am optimistic that his participation in the Masters will inspire younger players and increase interest in golf in Asia and beyond.”