As we near another British Open at Royal St. George, I thought I would go through the list of players from Japan competing in this years Open. It’s always a good opportunity not only to see some Japan tour players but also to see some JDM gear in action. I’ve also got a few pictures of each players bags, though not necessarily what they will be playing at the Open.
Ryo Ishikawa – Yonex: Ishikawa has been altering between his trusty tour cavity backs and new Yonex muscle backs all year. What will he play come Thursday? He relies on his new 380cc driver and ST 3 Wood and surely that 16* 0 iron will come in handy for him especially if the wind picks up. Can the 19 year old finally come through on the world stage? He’s got the raw skills but still lacks composure under pressure and the ability to be consistent. He must tame his wildness to be successful.
Yuta Ikeda – Tourstage: Ikeda is the new top man for Tourstage and sports the all Bridgestone bag unlike most pros that have a mix mash of brands. From the X-Drive 415 to GR utilities to 905 CB Limiteds and even TS Wedges and putter, Ikeda is the anti Ishikawa, quiet, reserved, not flashy at all. In Japan he is the young man (25) who’s an old man based on his demeanor.
Hiroyuki Fujita – Yamaha: Fujita is one of my favorite golfers. At 42 years young he is full of experience and has superb touch around the greens. He is not overly long compared to the young guns but he is just as styling on the course. He games the Yamaha V425 Tour and V Forged Tour Model but struggles sometimes with the left side. I’m always rooting for him.
Tadahiro Takayama – Tourstage: There was a time where Takayama was one of the hot up and comers for Tourstage on the Japanese tour. He faded for a while and was quiet before coming back strong over the last two seasons. Takayama is gaming the X Blade 901 Limted Blades and X-Drive 705 455 driver. He’s a streaky player who can either be hot and contend or disappear on the first day.
Tetsuji Hiratsuka – Tourstage: Like Fujita, Hiratsuka has been around on the Japan Tour and has been a mainstay with Tourstage. Still gaming the 09W-01-01 Prototype which the 703 Limited is based on, he also games the newer X-Blade 705 Type M. Another player who is up and down and can get hot… (or cold).
Hiroo Kawai – Taylormade Japan: At 39 Kawai got his first Japan Tour win of his career and it happened to be a Japan major at the Nissin PGA Championships which got him into the Open. He games the R11 and the Japan model R9 Forged. I don’t really know much about him since he really only broke out this year.
While I don’t really for see any of the Japan Tour players making a run at the Open, frankly the course is nothing like what they play in Japan, I’ll root for them nonetheless. And if one were to show up on the leader board it would be great for Japan. Thanks to the favorable time difference, the Open here in Japan will be aired on prime time which is awesome as I rarely get to watch any of the US based events live due to the time difference.
So what do you think? Who will win this years British Open?