U.S. Senior Open: Pros expecting a challenge from Oak Tree National

Oak Tree’s Scott Verplank, who will make his Champions Tour debut at the 2014 Senior Open on his home course, says Oak Tree National will be one of the toughest courses Champions Tour players will see.
by Michael Baldwin Published: June 21, 2014
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photo - Temporary buildings have been erected on the course at Oak Tree National Country Club in preparation for the 2014 U.S. Senior Open, held in July, on June 12, 2014. Photo by KT King/The Oklahoman
Temporary buildings have been erected on the course at Oak Tree National Country Club in preparation for the 2014 U.S. Senior Open, held in July, on June 12, 2014. Photo by KT King/The Oklahoman

— Oak Tree National PGA teaching pro Jim Woodward has played in two U.S. Opens and four U.S. Senior Opens.

That’s why Woodward doesn’t anticipate many red numbers to be posted July 10-13 at the 2014 U.S. Senior Open at Oak Tree.

“I’ve heard they might consider moving some tee boxes if it’s windy, but the USGA doesn’t care if a course knocks your head off,” Woodward said. “They won’t make it impossible to score but I’ve never seen that group try to take the easy route.

“They’ll keep the greens as quick as they can and grow the rough. It always depends on the weather, but this will be different than the (2006) Senior PGA that was here. Hopefully they’ll use some good judgment. It’s such a hard, hard golf course.”

Corey Pavin won 15 PGA Tour titles, including the 1995 U.S. Open. He was the PGA Tour’s leading money winner in 1991. The Hall of Famer said the 7,214-yard, par-71 layout will force the eventual champion to play well four consecutive days.

“Pete Dye courses are always challenging,” Pavin said. “It’s an excellent golf course that forces you to hit good shots or you can get into a lot of trouble.”

Oak Tree’s Scott Verplank, who will make his Champions Tour debut at the 2014 Senior Open on his home course, knows that fact as well as anyone.

“You have to drive it well because it’s a really tough course from the rough, plus the trees and all the hazards,” Verplank said. “There’s potential for disaster on almost every hole. The key is to get it into play then play smart around the greens because the greens are relatively small by today’s standards.

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by Michael Baldwin
Redhawks, Barons, MLB, NFL Reporter
Mike Baldwin has been a sports reporter for The Oklahoman since 1982. Mike graduated from Okmulgee High School in 1974 and attended Oklahoma Christian University, graduating with a journalism degree in 1978. Mike's first job was sports editor...
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