SAN DIEGO – Everytime I come to Torrey Pines I'm reminded of my childhood. When I was 17 years old, I competed in the famous Junior World Championships. This was a huge deal because I lived in South Carolina and travelled cross country alone.
The boys competition was staged on the heralded South Course and the girls were on the North Course. All of the unaccompanied contestants, like me, were housed in the UCSD dorms. It felt a lot like camp.
I remember in my practice rounds hearing about three exceptional players in the field – Brandie Burton, Michelle McGann and Phil Mickelson. They were the ones to beat. Being from the other side of the country, I wasn't hip to the California scene. Kids talked about them like they were gods and now I understand why.
One youngster they failed to mention was a fledgling Tiger Woods, who was also in the field. He was only 10 years old. Oh, and he did go on to win his division.
This place is special and I can somewhat relate to how Phil and Tiger must feel when Torrey Pines rolls around on the PGA Tour schedule. It's like you're a kid again.