Ryo Ishikawa giving to Japan while playing 2011 Masters

Ryo Ishikawa is a Japanese golfer competing at the 2011 Masters in Augusta, Ga. Ryo Ishikawa announced he will donate his 2011 golf winnings to Japan earthquake and tsunami victims.

By , Staff

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    Ryo Ishikawa of Japan hits his tee shot on the first hole during first round play in the 2011 Masters golf tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, April 7.
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Despite being a small nation, Japan has top athletes competing around the world in a variety of sports, including Major League baseball and World Cup skiing.

These athletes have expressed sympathy and concern about what's happening in their homeland, following the March 11 earthquake, tsunami, and subsequent nuclear crisis. Japan Tour golfer Ryo Ishikawa, who's playing in the Masters golf tournament in Georgia this week, is no exception. And he's taking it a step further.

Last week, Ishikawa announced that he would donate all of his 2011 golf earnings to the victims of Japan's earthquake and tsunami. He also wants to donate a set amount for every birdie he makes this season on the Japan Tour and in other pro events, like the Masters.

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Ishikawa is a nine-time winner on the Japan pro golf tour and made his US debut in 2009 at the Northern Trust Open in Los Angeles, Calif.

On Thursday, Ishikawa posted a one-under par in his first round at Augusta National, with four birdies. He's scheduled to tee off Friday at 1:04 p.m.

There are three other Japanese golfers competing at the Masters, along with Ishikawa. Hiroyuki Fujita, Hideki Matsuyama, and Yuta Ikeda are in the field of 99 pros and amateurs.

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