The U.S. Golf Association announced Tuesday that Chicago Golf Club, in Wheaton, will be the site of the 2033 U.S. Women’s Open as well as the 2036 Walker Cup matches.
Once a hotbed for major tournament golf, the Chicago area last hosted the U.S. Women’s Open in 2000, at Merit Club in Libertyville, and the men’s version of that championship was last played in the Chicago area at Olympia Fields in 2003.
The last USGA national championship of any sort in the area was also at Chicago Golf Club – the inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open of 2018. That’s the most recent of 12 USGA championships played in the Chicago area.
“The history of the USGA and American golf can’t be told without Chicago Golf Club, and just over 125 years after hosting its first USGA championship, we’re thrilled to announce our return for two additional significant events,’’ said John Bodenhamer, the USGA’s chief championships officer.
“With the tremendous support of its members and a world-class venue, we’re confident that Chicago Golf Club will deliver memorable moments and an opportunity for golf fans around the world to see one of the country’s finest golf venues.’’
Chicago Golf Club was founded in 1892 on ground that now houses the Downers Grove Park District course. The club was quick to move to Wheaton as the first 18-hole course in the United States and became one of the five founding members clubs of the USGA in 1894.
Charles Blair Macdonald, the first U.S. Amateur championship in 1895, designed the original Chicago Golf Club course and also served as the first vice president of the USGA.
Macdonald’s original layout was redesigned by Seth Raynor in 1923, and the course recently underwent a restoration to return the original fairway lines and dimensions of all 128 bunkers on the course. Thirteen of them were reinstalled after the club discovered maps that indicated they were part of Raynor’s original layout.
Chicago Golf Club has staged USGA championships in three centuries. U.S. Opens were played there in 1897, 1900 and 1911. Four U.S. Amateurs were played there between 1897 and 1912. The U.S. Women’s Amateur arrived in 1903, the U.S. Senior Amateur in 1979 and the Senior Women’s Open in 2018.
The Walker Cup, an amateur team event between the U.S. and Great Britain-Ireland, is also rich in history. It was previously played at Chicago Golf in 1928 and 2005.
Only six courses have hosted more USGA events than Chicago Golf Club’s 12 and Illinois ranks No. 5 among all states with its 61 championships.
“Hosting the best players in the world – men, women, amateur and professional – for USGA events is a point of pride for our club and a significant part of our long history,’’ said Herb Getz, the Chicago Golf Club president. “We very much look forward to building upon that history and continuing our valued partnership with the USGA on an event larger stage well into the future.’’
Chicago Golf Club has never hosted the U.S. Women’s Open, but that event was played at LaGrange Country Club in 1974 and the Merit Club, in Libertyville, in 2000. Sandra Haynie won at LaGrange and Australian Karrie Webb at Merit Club.
Laura Davies, the Women’s Open champion in 1987, was a stunning 16-under-par in a 10-stroke win over Juli Inkster when the USGA hosted its first championship for women over 50 years old at Chicago Golf Club in 2018.
“Hoisting a trophy there was a highlight of my career,’’ said Davies. “Chicago Golf Club is a great test of golf within a supportive golf community. It should make for a fantastic U.S. Women’s Open venue.’’
U.S. captain Bob Lewis called the 2005 matches at Chicago Golf Club “the greatest Walker Cup ever played.’’
The U.S. held off Great Britain-Ireland 12 ½-11 ½ to reclaim the Cup after three straight defeats.