Western Open

The Western Open dates back to 1899, the same year that the Western Golf Association was founded, so this competition was in play eighteen years before the formation of the PGA of America. It ran for more than a hundred editions, until it morphed into the BMW Championship on the PGA Tour in 2007.

Western Open Championship Trophy

The inaugural Western Open in September of 1899 was hosted by Glen View Golf Club in Illinois, with Willie Smith from Dundee defeating another Scotsman, Laurie Auchterlonie, in a playoff after both players had posted identical 2-round stroke play scores of 156.

Smith picked up fifty dollars from the hundred and fifty dollar prize fund then a week later he collected $150 from the prize pot for winning the 1899 US Open (by eleven shots) at Baltimore Country Club in Maryland. He moved to Mexico in 1904, designing the course at Club de Golf Chapultepec which his brother Alex completed in 1921.

Auchterlonie got over his disappointment at losing out in the first Western Open the following year when he won by two strokes at Midlothian Country Club in Illinois and this pattern of winners from the British Isles continued right through to 1925, with 13 Scottish and 3 English victories from the 24 contests that were held.

Chick Evans from Indiana was the most notable of the home-based winners, claiming the title as an amateur in 1910 (six years before he captured the US Amateur and the US Open in 1916) and he won the tournament when it was played in a match play format, beating George Simpson 6&5 in the final. The following season’s competition was also a match play affair before reverting to the 72-hole stroke play format that had been introduced in 1902.

Walter Hagen won the first of...

Western Open host courses

Bellerive

5th Missouri - Best in Area

The golf course at Bellerive Country Club is routed round a winding creek, which is a feature on nine holes. With large undulating greens and bold bunkering this is certainly a firm tournament favourite...

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Beverly Country Club

7th Illinois - Best in Area

Beverly Country Club is bounded on all sides by Windy City suburbs and is routed in two rectangular parcels, with the front nine holes lying to the north of 87th Street and the back nine laid out on the other side...

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Blue Mound

7th Wisconsin - Best in Area

Gene Sarazen won the PGA Championship at Blue Mound Golf & Country Club in 1933, seven years after Seth Raynor had set out an 18-hole course crammed with replica holes such as a Biarritz and an Eden.

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Butler National

5th Illinois - Best in Area

Butler National Golf Club was founded by multi-millionaire Paul Butler, a local businessman, and it lies to the west of the Windy City in the Oak Brook suburb of Chicago.

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Canterbury Golf Club

10th Ohio - Best in Area

Host to two US Opens and one PGA Championship, Canterbury Golf Club’s place in golfing history is assured. It’s not a long course but the site is delightfully undulating with rolling hills, brooks and wooded areas.

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Cog Hill (No.4)

15th Illinois - Best in Area

There are four courses at Cog Hill Golf & Country Club but the one most golfers want to play is the world-renowned No.4 course, otherwise known as "Dubsdread".

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Davenport

1st Iowa - Best in Area 96th USA Ranking

A C.H. Alison design from 1924, the course at Davenport Country Club was remodelled by Bob Lohman in 2000 when he created a new 1st hole and realigned the 9th, moving the green close to Conduit Creek.

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Flossmoor

10th Illinois - Best in Area

The 18-hole layout at Flossmoor Country Club is a Herbert Tweedie design from 1900 then modified by Harry Collis before the club hosted the USPGA in 1920 and the US Amateur in 1923.

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Glen View

21st Illinois - Best in Area

William Flynn redesigned the original Herbert Tweedie course at Glen View Club in 1922 and it served the members for almost eighty years before Davis Esler lovingly restored it in 1999.

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Idlewild

61st Illinois - Best in Area

The course at Idlewild Country Club hosted the 1912 Western Open, only four years after the club’s formation. Featuring five par three holes and five par fives, the layout was subsequently renovated during the Depression by William Langford.

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Western Open Leaderboard

Rank Name Courses Played
1 Paul Rudovsky Courses Played 27
2 David Harak Courses Played 21
3 Joshua Asher Courses Played 20
= James VanArsdall Courses Played 20
= Joseph Andriole Courses Played 20
6 Bill Wernecke Courses Played 17
= Fergal O'Leary Courses Played 17
= Bob McCoy Courses Played 17
9 Andrew J. Courses Played 14
= James Gold Courses Played 14