IMG Junior World Preview: A Truly Global Event
The Junior World festivities are set to get underway (IMG Junior World photo)
The Junior World festivities are set to get underway (IMG Junior World photo)

LA JOLLA, CA (July 7, 2018) - The 51st IMG Academy Junior World Championships tees off this week, bringing together junior golfers from around the world. 1260 juniors from 54 countries and 42 states will congregate at various courses in the San Diego area to compete in the same tournament in which so many future PGA and LPGA Tour stars lifted trophies in their first taste of international competition.

The names of past champions are familiar: Lorena Ochoa, Amy Alcott, John Cook, Jason Day, Ernie Els, Anthony Kim, Billy Mayfair, Phil Mickelson, Corey Pavin, Craig Stadler, and six-time champion Tiger Woods.

IMG Junior World Preview Video

Woods' record at Torrey Pines is often cited: 8 PGA Tour victories including the 2008 U.S. Open. But his Junior World win at Torrey Pines in 1991 was also notable, as he became the first 15-year-old to win the 15-17 age division championship, edging out fellow future PGA Tour member Chris Riley in the final round.

In 1984, Ernie Els won the 13-14 age division champion at Balboa Park, by three shots over Phil Mickelson. Twenty years later, Mickelson would deny Els the Masters title, with the memorable birdie putt on the 72nd hole at Augusta National that gave Mickelson his first major win.

But it isn't just the champions that make Junior World the tournament that it is. The global reach of the tournament is staggering -- tens of thousands of kids from more than 80 countries have competed in the 50 years the event has been held. Players from far-flung reaches of the globe: Kazakhstan, Qatar, Zambia, Mauritius, New Guinea, San Marino, and Tahiti to name a few.

In last year's tournament, the 50th playing of the event, two new international champions wre crowned, as Julian Perico of Peru and Nao Ohbayashi of Japan won the Boys and Girls oldest age divisions.

Related: IMG Junior World celebrates 50 years
Related: IMG Junior World: Julian Perico of Peru wins boy's title

The international flavor of the event will be reflected right from the Opening Ceremony, held on Sunday and featuring a parade of international and state flags.

On Tuesday the competition begins across six age divisions each for boys and girls: 15-18, 13-14, 11-12, 9-10, 7-8, and 6 & under. In addition to Torrey Pines (which hosts the 15-18 age divisions), host courses include the La Costa Resort, the Country Club of Rancho Bernardo, the Morgan Run Resort, Bernardo Heights Country Club, Carlton Oaks Golf Club, the Sycuan Resort, and Colina Park Golf Course.

ABOUT THE IMG Junior World

Age Divisions: 15-17, 13-14, 11-12, 9-10, 7-8, 6-under. 72 hole stroke play event for 15-17 division, 54 holes for other divisions. Qualifying required for 15-17, other divisions. Played at multiple courses in the San Diego area. Online application process begins approx. Feb 1.

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