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Fire destroys historic clubhouse at Oakland Hills Country Club

Feb. 17 (UPI) -- The iconic clubhouse at Oakland Hills Country Club, a suburban Detroit golf course that housed artifacts and memorabilia from some of the sport's biggest stars, burned to the ground Thursday.

A fire ripped through the roof of the sprawling, multi-story clubhouse in Bloomfield Township, Mich. The clubhouse was built in 1922 and contained invaluable memorabilia and art from the nine major championships and the Ryder Cup that Oakland Hills had hosted over the past century.

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No injuries were reported, and the cause of the blaze wasn't immediately known. Fire officials said the 110,000-square-foot clubhouse was one of the largest wood structures in Michigan.

Firefighters told reporters at the scene that they were instructed as to where some of the artifacts were located inside the clubhouse and were able to save some of the memorabilia. Some of the relics inside the building included Ryder Cup trophies and PGA Championship trophies, among other pieces.

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"This is a gut-wrenching day for Oakland Hills," club president Rick Palmer said in a statement Thursday. "While we know that no one from the membership or staff was hurt, we have lost our iconic clubhouse, that housed our history and our place in Michigan and U.S. and international golf.

"Oakland Hills is tremendously grateful to firefighters who were diligent in helping save some of our priceless pieces of memorabilia. It hurts to see this, but we are comforted to know that the heart and soul and legacy of the club resides in our membership and staff. Only time will tell what is next, but we will move forward with a purpose to honor all those who made this grand building come to life with their golf and their work."

Oakland Hills opened in 1916 and has hosted six U.S. Open tournaments -- only two other venues have held it more. Golf legends Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer both won the U.S. Senior Open at Oakland Hills.

Gary Player, meanwhile, won the 1972 PGA Championship at the course. In addition, Europe won the Ryder Cup there in 2004, and Padraig Harrington became the first Irishman to win the PGA Championship in 2008 at Oakland Hills.

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The club is set to host the U.S. Women's Open in 2031 and 2042.

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