BUTLER NATIONAL GOLF COURSE
The Western Open, a professional golf tournament, was first played in 1899. At the time of its 2006 playing, the Western Open was the 3rd oldest active PGA Tour tournament, after the British Open ( began 1860 ) and U.S. Open ( began 1895 ). Beginning 2007, the Western Open will be renamed the BMW Championship, part of the FedEx Cup playoff series, and played through 2012 with the PGA Tour's point system as the sole qualification standard. It will not be open to amateurs.
Western Open title sponsors have included Beatrice, Centel, Sprint, Motorola, Advil, Golf Digest and others.
The Western Open, founded and run by the Western Golf Association, was first played in 1899. Like the U.S. Open, in its early days it was usually won by visiting professionals from the United Kingdom. In its early decades it was widely regarded as a major championship, although this designation was unofficial and it is generally not included in tallies of golfers' major championship wins.
From the event's inception until 1961, it was played at a variety of mid-western locations, as well as places such as Arizona ( Phoenix, Utah ( salt Lake City ), and California ( San Francisco and Los Angeles. ) In 1923, the Western Open was held at the Colonial Country Club in Memphis, Tennessee.
Beginning in 1962, the Western Open settled into the Chicago, Illinois area, being played at different courses in and around the city. In 1974 the Western Open found an annual home at the Butler National Golf Club in Oak Brook, Illinois. It stayed this way until shortly after the 1990 tournament, when the PGA Tour adopted a policy of holding events only at clubs which allowed minorities and women to be members. This resulted in Butler National being replaced by the Cog Hill Golf & Country Club in Lemont, Illinois. The Dubsdread Course at Cog Hill played host to the Western Open from 1991 to 2006.
In 1899, the prize fund was $150, and the winner's share was $50. In 2006, the purse was $5,000,000, and the winner took home a 1st prize of $900,000.