EDMOND — Blue and peach flowers are blooming throughout Edmond just in time for Monday’s opening of the 35th U.S. Senior Open Championship.
The flowers in the colors of the tournament didn’t just happen. Their planting was part of the planning — two years of planning — for Edmond to host the tournament that is expected to bring more than 120,000 people to Oak Tree National throughout next week.
A new $5.9 million road project along Kelly Avenue, from Covell to Coffee Creek roads, was completed in time for the seven-day tournament that boasts 156 professional golfers over age 50.
Trash is being picked up and grass is being mowed along the route to the golf course one last time.
Landscapers are making last-minute touches in neighborhoods surrounding the golf course. Garbage pickup has been altered in the area, and the trash from the golf course will be picked up at 4:30 each morning.
“This is a huge event for Edmond,” said Cathy Williams-White, Edmond Convention and Visitors Bureau director. “A lot has gone into this. We have lived and breathed it the last couple years.”
Tournament officials are expecting 2,500 volunteers to donate their time during the tournament, which will be televised for more than 14 hours on NBC and ESPN2 to more than 100 countries.
“It takes a whole lot of people to make this come off,” said Janet Yowell, Edmond Economic Development Authority executive director. “They have planned for everything.”
‘A big deal’
Volunteers and spectators are expected to come to Edmond from 40 states.
“It is very exciting,” said Frank Naifeh, whose home is adjacent to what will be the No. 2 hole for the tournament. He will oversee 350 volunteers who will help with security, access, medical care and golf carts.
“We have been meeting, and the volunteers are ready to go,” Naifeh said.
Among them is his wife, Saundra Naifeh, former mayor and a board member of Edmond Beautiful, the group that urged residents to plant flowers throughout town to match the tournament’s colors.
Chris Palmer, a co-chairman of 1,500 of the volunteers, will oversee the marshals, merchandise tent, front gate and requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. He said finding volunteers wasn’t tough.
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