Projected finish for the U.S. Senior Open, which will be held Thursday through Sunday at Oak Tree National in Edmond:
1. Jeff Sluman: This guy defiinitely likes Oak Tree National, having won here in the 1988 PGA Championship when the place was known as Oak Tree Golf Club. Why not claim your second career major on the same course with a different name? Sluman is playing extremely well this season. Lost in playoff to Bernhard Langer on the Champions Tour’s last event, the Senior Players Championship.
2. Jay Haas: You see a pattern developing? Haas won the 2006 Senior PGA Championship at Oak Tree. Same course, different senior major crown? Haas has 14 Champions Tour titles, but hasn’t won in two years. Even without a victory this season, he still ranks second on the money list thanks to 11 Top 10s in 12 starts, including five third-place finishes. The man is due.
3. Bernhard Langer: If I were truly a “homer,” I would have picked Scott Verplank in this spot since he won the 1984 U.S. Amateur at Oak Tree. Instead, I’ll go with the Champions Tour’s Top Gun, who has 21 career wins as a senior, including three already this year. Why won’t Langer win this week? Because he’ll be distracted by Sunday’s World Cup final between Germany and Argentina.
Projected order of finish for golfers with Oklahoma ties:
1. Willie Wood: Too old for the 1984 U.S. Amateur and too young for the 2006 Senior PGA Championship, this is the first time for Wood to compete on his home course. He enters as the tour leader in putts-per-round (28.43).
2. Scott Verplank: Imagine a rookie trying to win a major in his first tour start on his home course after becoming eligible just one day before the event began. This is the challenge the 50-year-old Verplank faces. Gulp!
3. Bob Tway: Tway’s last tour victory was the 2003 Bell Canadian Open. His last victory in this country was the 1995 MCI Classic. His last victory at Oak Tree was the 1987 Oklahoma Open. Time for Tway to end his dry spell.
4. Gil Morgan: There would be no greater career finish than for this 67-year-old local treasure to win this week and immediately retire to his Oak Tree home. One last major for one of the greatest players in Champions Tour history.
5. Bill Glasson: Would be picked higher among the locals if he had a little more course knowledge. This Stillwater resident hasn’t played Oak Tree nearly as often as the Oak Tree Gang, which could cost him some strokes.
6. Rocky Walcher: This Oklahoma City resident and Carnegie native got into the event by qualifying and will be the first player off No. 1 tee Thursday at 7:15 a.m. Left the pro tour 10 years ago to become a financial adviser.
7. Danny Edwards: Edwards’ old home sits next to No. 10 tee (which is No. 1 this week). The house later served as Landmark Land’s business office. Joined the field by surviving a qualifier near his home in Scottsdale, Ariz.