The IMG Junior World Championships in the San Diego area, perhaps the best junior golf tournament on the planet, has been canceled for the first time in 53 years because of the Coronavirus pandemic.
The tournament was scheduled for July 7-10 at Torrey Pines Golf Course (pictured) in La Jolla and several other venues in San Diego County.
“I’ve made the analogy for the last month I feel like Junior World has been a hospice patient for me,” Megan Mahoney, executive director of the tournament, told Tod Leonard of GolfWorld. “We tried to have hope, but the news wasn’t what we wanted.
“ … We think about the kids and their missed opportunities. They worked hard to get here.”
The IMG Junior World plays host to more than 1,500 participants from about 50 countries every year and kicks off with a spectacular flag parade the day before competition begins.
All of the tournament courses currently are closed because of Covid-19.
More than 100 college recruiters attend the tournament and older players often leave with scholarship offers.
The IMG Junior World has six age group divisions for boys and girls, including ages 15-18, 13-14, 11-12, 9-10, 7-8, and 6-under.
Among the former champions in the Junior Worlds are Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, Amy Alcott, Nick Price, Corey Pavin, Craig Stadler, David Toms, Notah Begay, Brandie Burton, John Cook, Dorothy Delasin, Pat Perez, Joan Pitcock and Kim Shipman.
Since its inception in 1968, the tournament has hosted junior golfers from 73 countries—Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Bermuda, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Republic of China, Columbia, Costa Rica, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, France, Great Britain, Greece, Guam, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Korea, Lebanon, Luxemborg, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, New Guinea, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Paraguay, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Raratonga (Cook Islands), Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), Saipan, Samoa, San Marino, Scotland, South Africa, Spain, Sri Laka, Sweden, Switzerland, Tahiti, Taiwan, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, Venezuela, West Germany and Zambia.
For complete information about the tournament, visit www.juniorworldgolf.com