Newsmakers: January 30, 2008

AJGA alumni were lighting up the leaderboard at the PGA TOUR’s Buick Invitational last weekend. The AJGA had a hunch back in the day that these players would make it big.

Champion Tiger Woods earned his first Rolex Junior Player of the Year honors in 1991 and followed that up again the following year. Woods earned first-team Rolex Junior All-America honors three times during his tenure with the AJGA. A four-time Canon Cup West Team member, Woods earned eight AJGA victories, including the Polo Golf Junior Classic and the HP Boys Junior Championship.

Second-place finisher Ryuji Imada certainly can hold his own against Woods when it comes to showing off his AJGA meettle. Imada was a Rolex Junior All-American from 1991-1995. In 1995, he was also honored as the Rolex Junior Player of the Year.

Rory Sabbatini and Stewart Cink tied for third at the Buick Invitational. Sabbatini played in the 1994 Rolex Tournament of Champions and Cink was named a third-team Rolex Junior All-American in 1989.

In fifth place was Justin Leonard who picked up his first Rolex Junior All-America honors in 1986 when he was named an honorable mention in the 11-14-year-old category. He then went on to earn Rolex Junior All-America honors four more times, giving him the most All-America honors.

Phil Mickelson finished tied for sixth at the Buick Invitational with Joe Durant. Mickelson was a standout during his junior golf days. The three-time Rolex Junior Player of the Year (1986-88) still holds the record for most AJGA victories with 12. During his record-setting years, Mickelson earned three consecutive Rolex Tournament of Champion honors.