Bill Kwon

Sports Watch

By Bill Kwon

Friday, July 23, 1999


Ishii taking his usual
July break in Hawaii

IF it's July, David Ishii must be home for a month's break from the Japan PGA Tour.

Sure enough, Ishii was at the Oahu Country Club this week, playing in the Aloha Section PGA Four-Ball Match Play Championship with partner David Chin, the Navy-Marine assistant pro.

They lost to Kapalua Bay's Ben Hongo and John Rose, 1- up, after 20 holes in Wednesday's finals.

"It's a tradition for me, coming back every July," Ishii said.

Also because it's birthday time. Ishii will celebrate his 44th birthday Monday, while his son, Colan, will be 10 the following day.

One "tradition" that Ishii would like to break is winning the match-play title with Chin on an odd year for a change.

They've won the event on even-numbered years - 1994, 1996 and 1998 - but haven't been able to pull it off in 1995, 1997 and now 1999.

Ishii couldn't buy a putt in the final round, missing birdie tries of three, five and seven feet that would have snapped that odd-year jinx.

"I go through spells like that," he said. "I've been hitting the ball better, but I haven't been putting that well."

He used four different putters in four rounds during the match-play event.

Which is his favorite putter?

"It's a matter of feel," Ishii said, "and as long as the ball goes in. But I'm always trying to find that (one) putter."

RIGHT now, he's leaning toward a Scotty Cameron putter by Titleist. One that didn't make the grade was the one he used in Wednesday's finals.

He gave it to Chin's son, Josh, as a birthday present. The young lad will be 15 on July 26 - the same day as Ishii's birthday.

"Don't tell him I couldn't make any putts with it," Ishii told Chin. "Just tell him there's a lot of good putts left in it."

Although Ishii will be home during the Aloha Section PGA Championship at Mauna Kea Beach in 10 days, he's not eligible to enter.

Any pro who plays 12 or more tour events isn't eligible to compete in a sectional stroke play or match-play championship.

At the moment, Ishii is ranked 14th on this year's JPGA money list.

"I'm going to miss around four tournaments, so I'll be around 20th when I get back."

Still, this is Ishii's best year on the Japan circuit since 1996. He already has six top-10 finishes, including a third and two fourths.


READERS WRITE: Thomas Cody of Kihei, Maui, takes exception to my slighting Jeff Sluman as someone we wouldn't care to see in the PGA Grand Slam of Golf. He says that he'll take Sluman over Tiger Woods.

"He's supported the Hawaiian (Sony) Open for several years, while others - Tiger, Phil (Mickelson), Greg (Norman]) Davis (Love III), Justin (Leonard) Lee (Janzen), Ernie (Els), Colin (Montgomerie) and many, many others - have chosen not to play here.

"Jeff is one decent and personable individual . . . He's earned over $7.5 million in his career. How much have you earned?"

Alan Chock of Las Vegas corrects me when I said that only Mark O'Meara and Nick Price won two majors in a single year this decade. Nick Faldo also won two in 1990.

It was an oversight on my part because the PGA Grand Slam didn't adopt the format featuring the winners of four majors until the following year. So an alternate was selected only twice, during the years O'Meara and Price won two majors.

Bill Kwon has been writing
about sports for the Star-Bulletin since 1959.

E-mail to Sports Editor

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
[Stylebook] [Feedback]

© 1999 Honolulu Star-Bulletin