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Ryo Ishikawa seeks fresh inspiration
June 22, 2011

U.S. Open champion Rory McIlroy possesses the same awe-inspiring game as former world number one Tiger Woods, according to Japan’s Ryo Ishikawa, who admitted the Northern Irishman’s brilliance had elevated him to another level.

The 19-year-old Ishikawa finished 18 strokes behind McIlroy, who at 22 became the youngest winner of the U.S. Open since 1923 when he completed a remarkable eight-stroke victory on Sunday with a record-breaking 16-under par total.

“Whenever people ask who is going to be the next Tiger, I have always replied McIlroy,” Ishikawa told Japanese media. “He is a bit different from other players.

“His playing style, his club speed… he can play any shot. I played with him at the Masters the year before last and I still think I want to emulate his style of play.

“He has come this far in just two years,” added Ishikawa, who finished in a tie for 30th at Congressional Country Club after a closing round 68.

“I’ve improved too but I haven’t been able to close the gap in those two years.”

Ishikawa, a major celebrity in Japan, has struggled to hit the heights this season but insisted McIlroy’s stirring victory had given him added incentive to rediscover his touch.

“He’s given me motivation to take back to Japan and knuckle down to practice,” said Ishikawa, a nine-times winner on the Japanese professional tour.

“When I was winning as much as I was in 2009 and then suddenly not winning so much I guess subconsciously I’ve been pushing too much, getting anxious.

“But to shoot in the 60s on the last day meant I got a little revenge for the first three days so that was nice.”

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