This is the fifth installment of golfer Ryo Ishikawa's column for The Asahi Shimbun. The biweekly feature appears every other Thursday.
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Ever since I won the Munsingwear Open KSB Cup as an amateur five years ago and became famous, I knew that I would either get married early or never get married at all.
I ended up doing the former. I got engaged at the age of 20 to a girl with whom I went to the same junior high school. People may think we’re too young, but I’ve always felt that my fiancee is the only woman I could imagine marrying. If we’re going to be together forever, I don’t see the point in pushing back our marriage by two or three years simply because people think we are too young. Soccer player Keisuke Honda got married at age 22, so I didn’t think that 20 was too early.
But I was concerned about how her parents would react. We had numerous meetings with both of our parents, and cautiously discussed details. Because my fiancee and I went to the same junior high school, our mothers were also good friends and our discussions went smoothly. If this had been the first time for the parents to meet, it may have been difficult for us to get engaged.
We haven’t officially announced our engagement yet, but it’s been about a month since the media began reporting on it. So far, it hasn’t changed my day-to-day life. Just like before our engagement, the time I spend with my fiancee is the only time I can get away from golf and forget about bad memories or frustrations.
But from now on, our lives won’t be all fun and games. If I perform poorly on the golf course, my fiancee will probably feel bad, too. I feel an even bigger pressure than ever from the fact that I am responsible for her life, too.
Professional golfers often have to leave home to compete on one tour after another. Just the way American golfers often cherish time with their families, I hope to juggle my job and time with my family, and do my best to protect my family.
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Ryo Ishikawa is a professional golfer born in Saitama Prefecture in September 1991. He began playing golf in the first grade. He enrolled in Suginami Gakuin High School in Tokyo, and became the youngest winner on the Japan Golf Tour at the Munsingwear Open KSB Cup in May 2007 at the age of 15 years, 8 months. Ishikawa turned pro in 2008, and won a tournament that same year, helping him earn more than 100 million yen ($1.2 million) in prize money in his first year as a professional. In 2009, his second year as a professional, he won four tournaments, and became the youngest leading money winner on the Japan Golf Tour at the age of 18. On the last day of the Crowns in 2010, he shot a 58--the lowest score in a major tour event--and came from six strokes back to win by five shots. Ishikawa has won nine times on the Japan Golf Tour, despite his slight build of 174 centimeters and 68 kilograms.
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