Gone But Not Forgotten

All eyes will be on Torrey Pines this week as the U.S. Open golf championship is contested starting tomorrow.

However, long before Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson were even a glimmer in their parents’ eyes, Torrey Pines was on the map for a completely different reason. From 1951 to 1956, the site of the current U.S. Open golf course was a road racing course, hosting such luminaries as Phil Hill (who won the main event in a Ferrari 212 in 1952), Carroll Shelby, and Dan Gurney. It was considered one of the most challenging California road racing circuits.

So as you watch the tournament this weekend, picture, if you can, Ken Miles in his MG Special roaring past Jean-Pierre Kunstle’s Porsche Spyder, or Masten Gregory piloting a Maserati 300S to a win, or Bill Stroppe in his streamlined Kurtis-Buick.

The last event held at Torrey Pines was on January 15, 1956. Shortly thereafter, the racing circuit was closed permanently, to make way for the championship golf course that now sits on the site.