PGA to consider holding more majors at Oak Tree
EDMOND, Okla. -- PGA of America officials said Sunday they will consider future bids by Oak Tree Golf Club to host major championships, something the club hopes to do on a regular basis.
Oak Tree's first major in 18 years, the Senior PGA Championship, ended Sunday, with Jay Haas the winner. Final attendance figures won't be available for a few days, but PGA chief executive officer Joe Steranka said that it looked to him as though the tournament set records for both fan and corporate support.
That bodes well for future Oak Tree bids to host major PGA events, he said.
"What we look for for major championships, first and foremost, is a course to test the greatest players, and Oak Tree certainly does that," Steranka said. "You also look at the infrastructure in a community ... and you look at what sort of support you'll get from the entire community.
"The way this [club] has performed, we would certainly take another look at events" at Oak Tree, Steranka said.
PGA President Roger Warren also praised Oak Tree, saying the tournament "has definitely exceeded our expectations," but stopped short of promising a future major for the club.
"It would be unfair for me to speculate about future sites, other than to say that we look at the partnerships we have with venues when we come there and how they perform ... Oak Tree has demonstrated that they can do that [well]," Warren said.
"We will continue to look, as we go forward, to great venues, and I think that Oak Tree will be under consideration."
Oak Tree owner Don Mathis said the club isn't interested in a yearly PGA tour stop but would like to host a tournament -- preferably a major -- every three to six years. The club's vice president, A.G. Meyers, is even more direct: "My job here is to bring major championships to the golf club."
The soonest Oak Tree could realistically host another major on either the PGA Tour or Champions Tour would be 2010. That's the first open date on the U.S. Golf Association's calendar for the U.S. Senior Open, which will be played this year at Prairie Dunes Country Club in Hutchinson, Kan.
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press