The future of big events at Oak Tree National: U.S. Senior Open has course back on the golf map

Oak Tree National owners have made their intentions clear that they want the biggest of the big. Now comes the part where the Oak Tree bosses have to put their ideas into action to draw the next big tournament.
by Scott Wright Modified: July 13, 2014 at 6:27 pm •  Published: July 13, 2014

— The U.S. Senior Open went off smoothly over the last four days at Oak Tree National, and it brought wildly strong praise from players as being a course worthy of hosting even bigger events.

Oak Tree National owners have made their intentions clear that they want the biggest of the big — U.S. Open, PGA Championship, Ryder Cup, or any other major tournament from the men’s women’s, senior or amateur tours.

Now comes the part where the Oak Tree bosses have to put their ideas into action to draw the next big tournament.

Ed Evans and fellow co-owner Everett Dobson have been in close contact with the city of Edmond, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma County and state departments to keep moving forward in hopes of making Oak Tree a regular stop for big golf tournaments.

The course played two strokes tougher than the last four U.S. Senior Open locations, with a stroke average of 75.311 over four rounds. Longtime pros who know what a real U.S. Open course looks like say Oak Tree fits the mold.

“We didn't play the whole golf course,” John Cook said after shooting 66 Sunday. “We played at least 90 percent of the golf course. It was plenty difficult. You stretch this thing out a little bit and yeah, it's a good test because you get the conditions like that where it gets firm and the ball is going. And the wind comes from an odd direction on every hole so it doesn't really allow you to use the wind. It's difficult.”

Previous owners had said the course couldn’t be lengthened to the point where it would challenge PGA Tour players. But with only two players finishing better than 1 under par, and the potential to play the course 200-300 yards longer than what the seniors played, those concerns have been resolved.

Wider roads around the course to allow for the smooth flow of fans in and out of the property remain an issue, but it’s something the course and the city of Edmond are well aware of.

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by Scott Wright
Reporter
A lifelong resident of the Oklahoma City metro area, Scott Wright has been on The Oklahoman staff since 2005, covering a little bit of everything on the state's sports scene. He has been a beat writer for football and basketball at Oklahoma and...
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