Oak Tree to host '06 Senior PGA

Updated: August 18, 2004, 5:42 PM ET
Associated Press

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.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press