Oak Tree to host '06 Senior PGA

EDMOND, Okla. -- Players who competed in the PGA
Championship at Oak Tree Golf Club nearly two decades earlier will
find a longer course and quicker greens when they take part in the
2006 Senior PGA Championship on the course.
Last year, designer Pete Dye extended the course so it can play
as long as 7,419 yards and installed 18 new greens that can
withstand the faster greens of today's PGA without unfairly rolling
players' golf balls off the green.
Oak Tree, which was officially selected Tuesday as the site of
the 2006 Senior PGA, will become the sixth course to host both the
Senior PGA and the PGA Championship. The course hosted the PGA
Championship in 1998.
An official date has not been set for the Senior PGA, one of
five majors on the Champions Tour, but the event is tentatively
scheduled for the last week in May.
Jim Awtrey, PGA of America chief executive, said the course was
set up to play easier than normal in the 1988 event. A combination
of rain shortly before the tournament started, plus cool
temperatures and tame winds also helped lower scores. The cut was
2-over par, a record at the time, and Jeff Sluman eventually won at
12-under par.
"The scores were a lot lower than this course deserved to have
at that time," Awtrey said. "This is one of the wonderful golf
courses and is certainly tough enough to challenge any generation
of player."
Don Mathis, owner and president of the club, said Wednesday he
expected the course to be more difficult than it was in 1988, but
the higher caliber of players could counteract some of the changes.
Mathis said he hopes the Champions Tour event will also help the
club gain future PGA Tour stops or a Ryder Cup event.
Oklahoma will also host a major championship in 2007, when the
PGA Championship is held at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa.