The Buick Invitational, now played at Torrey Pines Golf Course, began as the San Diego Open in 1927, although it didn’t become an annual event until 1952. La Costa also was home for many years to the Tournament of Champions, making San Diego a destination for the game’s best players twice a year.
San Diegans also have made their mark many times in major championships, with Billy Casper, Gene Littler, Paul Runyon, Craig Stadler, Scott Simpson and Phil Mickelson winning titles at the Masters, U.S. Open and the PGA Championship. In women’s golf, Mickey Wright is one of the sport’s legends.
But a San Diego golf course has never been home to a major championship. That changes in 2008 when the U.S. Open is played at Torrey Pines Golf Course. Torrey Pines will join Riveria and Pebble Beach as California courses to host a major championship.
Jay Rains, named the 2006 Community Champion by the Hall of Champions, was the driving force behind a volunteer group that earned the bid from the United States Golf Association for San Diego host the 2008 U.S. Open. The Hall of Champions annually honors a San Diego sports figure as Community Champion. Rains is a past president and member of the Board of Directors for The Century Club that directs the PGA Tour’s Buick Invitational. He also serves as an official at tournaments.
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