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Western Open changes courses

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CHICAGO -- The second oldest tournament on the PGA Tour, the Western Open, has officially left the all-white Butler National golf course for Cog Hill's infamous No. 4 Dubsdread.

The Western Open has been held at Butler National in west suburban Oak Brook for thepast 17 years. But the Western Golf Association started looking for a new home for the tournament in the wake of the controversy surrounding exclusionary membership practices at Shoal Creek Country Club in Alabama, site of this year's PGA Championship.

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The controversy resulted in the PGA issuing a new policy that prohibits PGA Tour events from being played at clubs that exclude on the basis of sex, color or religion.

Butler National, formed as a men's club, has no black or female members, although the club's written bylaws do not restrict membership on the basis of race or religion.

'I have no comment,' Butler National president Bob Duffy said. 'It's been great, but I have no comment.'

Cog Hill Golf and Country Club, located in the southwest suburb of Lemont, is a 72-hole complex known worldwide for the infamous No. 4 Dubsdread course. Built in 1964, it is listed among the top public courses in the country by both Golf Digest and Golf Magazine.

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'One of the things that compelled us, as much as anything, is we were really wanted by those people,' said Jim Ashenden, president of the WGA. 'It's nice to go where you wanted. Plus, you're not talking about a second-rate golf course. You're talking about an outstanding golf course.'

Dubsdread plays to more than 7,000 yards at the championship tees and is rated at 75.4. It has played host to two U.S. Public Links Championships, the latest in 1989, plus the Women's Amateur Public Links Championship, the Western Junior and numerous U.S. Open local and sectional qualifiers.

PGA Tour rookie Robert Gamez set the Dubsdread course record with a 64 last year in the Public Links qualifier.

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