From Brian Keogh in Los Angeles

It wasn’t quite the "Bashful Prince" from Bel-Air. But Ryo Ishikawa’s charming and chaotic opening press conference at the Northern Trust Open was easily the highlight of the build up to a $6.3 million tournament that features 30 of the world’s top 50.

Two of the leading players in the field, defending champion Phil Mickelson and three-time major winner Padraig Harrington, are going through the horrors with their games and undoubtedly grateful to avoid the glare of the spotlight for a few days.

Ishikawa appeared to be meditating as more than 100 media types, mainly Japanese photographers and TV camermen, jostled for position before the 17-year-old schoolboy sensation addressed the great American public for the first time.

His lips were moving, but not in prayer. He was simply rehearsing his opening remarks, which he delivered in English in what was a carefully staged homage to Tiger Woods, who greeted his public with the words “Hello World’ when he turned professional at the Greater Milwaukee Open in August 1996.

“Hello, America. I'm Ryo Ishikawa from Japan,” said sponsor's invitee Ishikawa, who was wearing a pair of bright yellow slacks that might well have been visible from his home town, or space.

Far from shy and retiring, as his nickname suggests, Ishikawa gave the assemble press a lesson in how to pronounce his name: “Everyone, repeat to me: 'Ryo',” he said, provoking peels of laughter all round. “That's it! Okay, thank you. And I'm looking forward to Thursday.”

Ishikawa is the youngest player ever to receive and invitation to play in the Masters and when I spoke to him briefly after the event, he revealed that he is looking forward to hooking up with Ireland’s teenage prince, Rory McIlroy, at Augusta National in April.

“I met with Rory at The Crowns tournament last year but only on the practice ground,” he said through an interpreter. “We didn't play together but his swing was beautiful and very attractive.

“He is nearly the same age as me and seeing him win in Dubai motivates me to win too. I will look forward to meeting Rory at the Masters.”

Ishikawa says his ambition this week is simply to make the cut but his long-term goal is to emulate Woods and become the youngest player to don the green jacket awarded to the Masters champion.

“My ultimate goal is to win the Masters but, to achieve that goal, I have set up small goals in each practice,” he said. “Hopefully I can get to the final goal.”