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COVID-19 deals another blow: IMG Junior World at Torrey Pines
The five-petaled, white orchid flag of Hong Kong at the IMG Junior World
The five-petaled, white orchid flag of Hong Kong at the IMG Junior World

One of the most important and historic championships in junior golf is the latest event that will miss a year due to COVID-19.

The IMG Junior World, which each year attracts upwards of 1500 participants from 50 countries to the various courses in San Diego has made the difficult decision to cancel for the first time in 53 years.

The tournament committee, including executive director Megan Mahoney, knew that the chances of holding the July tournament weren't good, but until this week she was holding onto a glimmer of hope.

"I've made the analogy for the last month I feel like Junior World has been a hospice patient for me," Mahoney told Tod Leonard of GolfWorld. "We tried to have hope, but the news wasn't what we wanted."

The tournament field is comprised of players representing just about every country where golf is played. It's truly a spectacle for players, fans, and families -- kicking off with a festive flag parade the day before play gets started. The smiles on the boys and girls of all ages are priceless.

It would have been unreasonable to expect that more than a small percentage of them could make an international trip as early as July. And rescheduling (especially at Torrey Pines' two courses) presents an insurmountable challenge. Both courses, as well as all other host courses in San Diego County, are currently closed.

The cancellation will mean a missed opportunity for every boy and girl in the field, especially those in the upper age bracket.

Many of the older golfers get to play in front of college coaches for the first time - more than 100 recruiters typically make the trip to Torrey Pines to size up the talent. IMG, the tournament sponsor, runs the biggest sports academy in the world in Orlando, Florida.

"We think about the kids and their missed opportunities," said Mahoney. "They worked hard to get here."



ABOUT THE IMG Junior World

**Cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak.

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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