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U.S. Senior Open: Scott Verplank turns 50 at just the right time

Edmond resident’s first golf tournament on the senior tour will be this week’s U.S. Senior Open on his home course, Oak Tree National.
by Jenni Carlson Published: July 8, 2014

— Scott Verplank was sitting in his home office sorting through a stack of unopened mail earlier this week when he came across a plain-looking envelope.

Its contents: an AARP membership application.

“Oh, my gosh,” he thought.

The longtime professional golfer laughed as he recounted the tale Tuesday.

“But I was like, ‘Well, I guess it’s real,’” he said.

Happy 50th birthday, Scott.

On Wednesday, Verplank celebrates this milestone birthday, and even though he’s told his wife that he wants no parties this week, there’s quite a shindig happening in his Oak Tree neighborhood — the U.S. Senior Open.

The final practice day is Wednesday, and the four-day tournament starts Thursday, with the first groups teeing off at 7:15 a.m.

Players have to be at least 50 years old to play in Champions Tour events, so this is the first tournament that Verplank will be eligible to enter. What are the odds? A major championship. A tournament on his home course. A chance to make a statement in his senior debut.

“Any time you get to play … on the golf course that I live on, that I practice at every day, that I love,” Verplank said, “it’s a great deal.”

Verplank has played on the PGA Tour since 1986, and while he’s won more than $27 million during his career, the past few years have been tough. A number of injuries have hampered him, most notably a wrist injury that required surgery in 2011, but Father Time has also made it increasingly difficult to compete on tour.

“Actually, I was kind of joking the other day, and I said, ‘Yeah, I think I’m about ready to start playing with kids my own size again,’” Verplank said, laughing. “You know, pick on somebody your own age or your own size because the kids on the PGA Tour are getting out there.”

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by Jenni Carlson
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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