Orlando, Florida: New US PGA Tour special temporary member Ryo Ishikawa plans on spending plenty of time at events in Japan even as he works towards being able to play a full schedule in America one day.
The 20-year-old Japanese sensation, speaking on the eve of his Thursday start at the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill, Florida, said he will not abandon playing in home events, at least in the near future.
But in Tokyo, the Japanese daily Nikkan Sports reported that Ishikawa's camp had started "research" on a house where he would base himself in preparation for his "full-scale participation in the US tour next year."
"Long term, yes, it's my dream to be playing the majority of events over here," Ishikawa said in Orlando. "But it wouldn't happen in the near future because the Japanese Tour helped me reach where I am. I'm really grateful for what I have in Japan.
"For physical reasons, the time difference and geological differences, distance-wise, for my physical state, I think it's better to stay over here (in the US) and play. That would be the ideal situation. But in the near future, no."
Ishikawa's second-place finish at the Puerto Rico Open earlier this month gave him temporary PGA membership this season as he tries to finish among the top 125 money winners and claim a place on next season's US PGA Tour.
The Nikkan Sports, quoting an unnamed Ishikawa associate, said six places, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Phoenix, Tampa, Orlando and New York, had emerged as candidates for his US base.
Ishikawa's staff has also started considering asking All Nippon Airways, one of his sponsors, to arrange a private jet for his use on the US tour, the report said, as his profile in the game soars.
Previously, Ishikawa was limited to how many sponsor exemptions he could accept and how many US PGA events he could play. Now he has a better chance at cracking the top 125.
"It is important to obtain a tour card and do well here, but that's not my goal. My goal is my golf," Ishikawa said. "The important thing is to play better golf and until August, September, I may have to travel back and forth (from USA to Japan), so I have to take care of my body.
"Since I'm given this chance to play more, I would like to play well and I'd like to concentrate on playing well here."
Ishikawa, ranked 50th in the world, has already received a special invitation to play in the Masters in two weeks at Augusta.
"Ideally, this week and the Masters, if I play good, I can make it in the 125 money this year," he said. "That would be my ideal scenario but for now, I would like to concentrate on this week and the Masters.
"After the Masters, I play events in Japan. And over here in the States, the US Open and the World Golf Championships events maybe I'll be playing. But I don't have a detailed schedule yet."
Ishikawa, who does not own a US home, was targeting a spot in the top 50 next week to qualify for the Masters and that goal has not changed even though he already knows he will be travelling to Augusta National.
"I'm still trying to be within the top 50 of the world ranking and to do so, I may have to finish around 10th this week," Ishikawa said. "For that, I will try my hardest and my best this week."