Smithtown's Jim Liu, one of the top junior golfers in the United States, said Friday he will attend Stanford University next September. Liu said the choice came down to Texas and Stanford, with the Cardinal winning out because of its sprawling practice facility, the quality of the golf program and its prestigious academics.
Liu, a senior at the Knox School, won the 2010 U.S. Junior Amateur Championship at 14 years old, breaking the record set by Tiger Woods, who was 15. Liu headlined the U.S. Junior Ryder Cup team in September, which beat Europe for the third straight year.
"Both schools have great team programs but at Stanford, I enjoyed their Siebel training complex," Liu said. "It's nice and new and you can do an entire 18-hole course there. They also have lots of greens complexes."
Liu, who opted to play the national junior circuit rather than high school golf, has drawn comparisons to Woods, who was a star before going pro. Now he will attend Woods' alma mater. "I've followed [Woods'] footsteps the whole way," Liu said. "He's accomplished so much. Everything associated with greatness is associated with him."
The soft-spoken Liu was not concerned with looming pressure to meet or exceed the bar Woods has set. "I'm not trying to live up to what Tiger's done," he said. "I just try to plug away every single day and work as hard as I can. If I do that, I'll be fine."
Academics are important to Liu. "Stanford has a great academic program, which is especially important when you're going to college, even if you're going to play a sport," Liu said. "You never know what can happen to you, so it's always a great idea to have a college degree in your pocket. I think Knox has prepared me really well for Stanford."
But when asked what major he will pursue, he responded: "Oh, I don't know. I think my freshman year, I'm going to do some exploring."