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Japan golf star giving all earnings to victims

Ryo Ishikawa
Japan's Ryo Ishikawa hits off the third tee during the first round of the British Open Golf Championship on the Old Course at St. Andrews, Scotland, Thursday, July 15, 2010. AP Photo/Peter Morrison

In his native Japan, golfer Ryo Ishikawa goes by the nickname "Hanikami Oji," which literally means "Bashful Prince."

But there is nothing timid about the princely sum the golfing phenom has vowed to give his home.

While Japan deals with the grim effort of recovering bodies and containing a nuclear crisis in the wake of a devastation earthquake and tsunami, Ishikawa announced he is giving all of his 2011 tournament earnings to the victims.

Kyodo News reports that the 19-year-old also is also pledging money for every birdie he makes.

If Ishikawa plays as well as he did last year, his donation could exceed $2 million toward relief efforts.

He was No. 3 on the Japan Golf Tour money list in 2010, making just over $1.8 million, which includes his earnings from the majors and World Golf Championship. According to the AP, he led the tour by making 341 birdies last year, which could amount to another $400,000. His pledge was for 100,000 yen for each birdie.

Ishikawa won his first pro tournament as a 15-year-old amateur, and already has won nine times in Japan.

The golfer is not the only one coming to the aid of the devastated country. Several NBA players including MVP candidate Derrick Rose, pledged to donate $1,000 for every point they scored last weekend. (For the record, Rose dropped 54 points over back-to-back games.)

Major League Baseball has also stepped up since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. During spring training, Boston Red Sox pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka greeted fans at the gates of a game in Fort Myers, Fla., with a donation bucket. The team pledged $50,000 while the Yankees have offered $100,000.

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