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Oakland Hills has a history of drawing big crowds for the biggest of events. (Getty Images)
Oakland Hills has a history of drawing big crowds for the biggest of events. (Getty Images)

Oakland Hills' countdown to 2008 PGA reaches a year

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As the world of golf assembled at Southern Hills for the 2007 PGA Championship, famed Oakland Hills in suburban Detroit was busily selling tickets and getting its historic South Course ready to host the 2008 PGA Championship.

DETROIT (AP) -- A year from now, the best golfers in the world will be competing at Oakland Hills in the 2008 PGA Championship.

"The countdown has begun," Tournament Director Ryan Cannon said.

Cannon, his staff and about 25 Oakland Hills Country Club members,
who are leading some of the 62 committees, traveled
this week to Southern Hills in Tulsa, Okla., to get an up-close look at this year's PGA Championship.

"We (met) with our counterparts to find out what went well in the planning process and what didn't," Cannon said. "It really establishes a working dialogue so that we can improve the event next year to make it the best ever."

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Cannon announced last Monday that the goal of signing up more than 3,500 volunteers has been reached.

"We are overwhelmed by the response of golf enthusiasts in the state of Michigan," he said, adding that he's also been pleased by ticket sales since they began July 23.

"We have room for about 40,000 spectators each day and we were at 26 percent of that allotment as of Friday," he said.

Golf course architect Rees Jones, following in his father's footsteps, reshaped Donald Ross' original design at the famed golf course, located in Bloomfield Township, Mich., about 15 miles north-northwest of Detroit.

The South Course, which was just under 7,000 yards long for the 1996 U.S. Open, was lengthened by 346 yards by altering 15 holes. Several fairways were narrowed and numerous bunkers were added among other changes.

Jones' father, Robert Trent Jones, made changes at Oakland Hills that led to Ben Hogan calling it "The Monster" after winning the U.S. Open there in 1951.

Oakland Hills will host the PGA Championship for a third time. It has been the site of six U.S. Open tournaments and the 2004 Ryder Cup. Oak Hill, Pinehurst and Scioto are the only other courses that have held a Ryder Cup, U.S. Open and PGA Championship.

"I started working on the 2008 PGA Championship in January of 2005 after helping out with the 2004 Ryder Cup here," Cannon said. "It's hard to believe it's just a year away now."

Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

©2007 PGA/Turner Sports Interactive. All Rights Reserved.