Mickelson to Redesign Torrey Pines North

Phil Mickelson and his design firm have been selected to oversee a remodel of the North Course at Torrey Pines. The 36-hole municipal facility - which also includes the South Course, site of the 2008 U.S. Open won by Tiger Woods - is near Mickelson's hometown of San Diego.

Mickelson's role will be a personal full circle of sorts. As a junior golfer, "Lefty" grew up playing Torrey Pines and won his first PGA Tour title as a pro there in 1993. During his early days Mickelson won a whopping 34 San Diego Junior Golf Association titles at area courses.

According to San Diego's city golf manager Mark Marney, the $7 million project involves 18 new greens, renovated bunkers and tees, full cart paths, improved irrigation, and some added tees for tournament play. The intent is to modernize the North Course, which is used along with South every January in the PGA Tour's Farmers Insurance Open.

"We want to execute core elements," Marney told U-T San Diego reporter Tod Leonard. "We've tried to be clear in our objectives. We've identified a number of pieces of work we'd like to see addressed. We're not looking at starting over. We're not going to reroute the golf course."

"It has been a dream of mine to turn that golf course into what I know it can be," said Mickelson, who will waive his personal fee, though his design team will be paid as part of their contract with the city.

"We will spend countless hours making sure that that course is right because the first goal is to make it playable. It's got to be playable for everybody. It's a daily golf course, municipal golf course. Everybody has got to go out and enjoy it.

"And the other thing is that the character is not being brought out right," Mickelson added. "The character of the canyons and the beauty of that place has not been pulled into the golf course. It's been separated. The canyons are on one side of the golf course and then there's been no integration, so the character that we bring out will try to enhance the natural beauty that's already there."

Mickelson and his team will display drawings of the remodel at the first of three public meetings. The first meeting will take place from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on December 18 at The Lodge at Torrey Pines. Mickelson is expected to attend.

The gathering could be a popular ticket, with many attendees expected to voice their concerns that the remodeled course not follow the path of South, which was redesigned by Rees Jones prior to the U.S. Open and, since then, considered by many public players to be too difficult and too expensive.

"The community will express passion for the golf course, passion for its playability and the experience they have now and their concerns about how it will be maintained on a new golf course," Marney told Leonard (for his full story, visit http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/dec/11/tp-torrey-north-gets-its-phil/).

"Our objective is improving the golf course. You can't say that the golf course is the same as it was 30 years ago. The bunkers are in different places. The greens are smaller. Certain things need to be addressed. It's going to be everybody's job to manage the work."

According to city documents, the project is tentatively scheduled for design completion in summer of 2014, with work to commence and that time and be open to the public the following summer.