It wasn’t the most successful week for the Oak Tree Gang with Bob Tway, Gil Morgan, Willie Wood and Scott Verplank all far off the leaderboards.
Same goes for most other golfers in the U.S. Senior Open field, for that matter.
But Wood, an Edmond resident who finished tied for 49th, echoed the overwhelming opinion of the week by saying it was still a win for his home course.
“The club was successful,” Wood said. “It was a really good event, looked great on TV. I think the fans enjoyed it. I don't think it's going to be the last event here. It will be the last event I play in, but it won't be the last event here at Oak Tree, because the golf course. The golf course won this week.”
And that’s not just Wood trying to say the right things.
“All the players I talked to really, really loved it,” Wood said. “This is coming from guys that really aren't all that complimentary. They loved it.”
CONSISTENCY PAYS OFF FOR AUSTIN, FROST
Woody Austin and David Frost never played an incredible round this week, but they finished tied for third at the U.S. Senior Open behind Colin Montgomerie and Gene Sauers.
Frost shot 71-71-71-70, and said his goal entering Sunday was to shoot 2-under. He missed that by one stroke, but didn’t deviate much from his game plan.
“Who knows what can happen on the back?” Frost said Saturday. “I'm not going for fireworks. Play a nice conservative front-nine.”
Austin had rounds of 72, 70, 71 and 70 in his Champions Tour debut
“I wasn't playing good enough to make up ground,” he said. “I was never better than 1-over any day. I was never worse. I just never had it going. There was no 5-under in my game, because I just never got it going.”
BAD LUCK BERNHARD
Despite being in contention all week, Bernhard Langer had a disastrous 6-over Sunday that resulted in him finishing 2-over for the tournament and tied for ninth place. However, Langer might have been a few collective inches away from a much different score.
He had a week full of bad luck on the greens, and he estimated he had 10 putts lip-out in the final two rounds.
“Everything went against me,” Langer said. “I really played good golf actually for the most part, hit a lot of solid shots, just couldn't make a putt.”
Langer has also had his share of positive luck this year. He has three wins and leads the Champions Tour money list.
“He was the danger man,” Montgomerie said. “To stay ahead of Bernhard Langer in any senior event you play in, you're close to the lead. That was what I was trying to do all week was just stay one ahead of Bernhard Langer.”
Montgomerie was 0-7-1 in playoffs heading into a 3-hole showdown with Sauers on Sunday at the U.S. Senior Open, including losses at the 1994 U.S. Open and 1995 PGA Championship.
That was when he and Langer agreed to split the 2002 Volvo Masters Andalucia after darkness halted their playoff after two holes.
But after Montgomerie nailed a 12-foot putt to beat Sauers, that record is 1-7-1.
The previous most recent playoff in a U.S. Senior Open came when Don Pooley beat Tom Watson in 2002.
McCOY EDGES WILSON FOR LOW-AM
Mike McCoy was the low amateur at the U.S. Senior Open after shooting even Sunday to finish the tournament at 7-over.
Jeff Wilson, the only other amateur to make the cut, entered Sunday with a one-stroke lead on McCoy, but shot a 4-over in the final round to finish 10-over.
“I'm really thankful that I'm in good enough shape to still play competitively,” McCoy said. “It's a thrill to be here with all these great players … When you're low at anything I guess it's pretty good.”
SINGH RESPECTS OAK TREE
Vijay Singh has played in 18 U.S. Opens, and finished in the top 10 seven times.
Singh, who tied for fifth at the U.S. Senior Open, has also won three majors on the PGA Tour, giving him as much credibility as anyone when it comes to the difficulty of majors.
So can Oak Tree National host a U.S. Open?
“It should,” Singh said “It's a good golf course. One hell of a test of golf. They can make it as hard as they want to.”
QUIET PLEASE — EXCEPT FOR THE BAGPIPES
As Montgomerie walked down the 12th fairway, he was greeted with a sound familiar to any native of Scotland — bagpipes.
Standing in the backyard of one of the houses lining the hole, Bruce Robertson played the bagpipes and serenaded Montgomerie for a couple of minutes. The golfer responded by removing his visor and waving it in the air in Robertson’s direction.
“Never mind these bagpipes — he was dressed in a kilt, which is a heavy material,” Montgomerie said. “It's amazing to have that. I'm 5,000 miles from my home and to have him playing was a thrill. So whoever he might be, I will find him no doubt. You know where he lives because he's housed there by the pool, and please pass on my thanks.”