Special membership for Ishikawa

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Japan’s Ryo Ishikawa will be able to accept unlimited sponsor’s exemptions to continue playing on the PGA Tour this year.

Japanese phenom Ryo Ishikawa will be able to accept unlimited sponsor’s exemptions to continue playing on the PGA Tour this year.

The nine-time winner on the Japan Tour has taken up special temporary status on the PGA Tour, by virtue of his earnings in America so far this year. His $577,136 in 10 starts is higher than the money made by the players who finished 150th on the 2010 money list, which makes him eligible for special temporary membership.

This means that he will be able to play in the four Fall Series event starting after the FedEx Cup play-offs, but not the FedEx Cup itself, which he did not qualify for.

Ishikawa needs to earn more than whoever finishes 125th on the PGA Tour money list this year – currently Billy Mayfair with $538,493 – to become fully exempt for the 2012 PGA Tour, saving himself a trip to Q-school.

Once reticent about moving over to America, the 19-year-old, already a superstar in Japan, has recently had a change of heart – perhaps spurred on by a fourth place finish in the recent WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

After his finish he there, he said: “I’d like to play 100 percent on the (PGA) Tour.”

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