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Congressional cited for improper tree removal

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With preparations underway for a significant renovation, future Ryder Cup host Congressional Country Club has been cited by Montgomery County (Md.) officials for improper tree removal.

According to a report from the Washington Post, the club near the nation's capital has cut down more than 20,000 square feet of tree canopy in recent months. That's more than four times the maximum removal allowed without obtaining a "sediment control permit," which the club did not procure.

The county's department of permitting services reportedly e-mailed the violation to the club on Sept. 26, and a Congressional spokesperson indicated the paperwork for the permit is "in process."

"Congressional has selectively removed trees for the conditioning of our golf courses," wrote general manager Jeffrey Kreafle. "We have not received a stop work order from Montgomery County. Rather, they notified the club that we need to obtain a sediment control permit for work being done on the golf course."

In an interesting twist, the investigation reportedly started when an anonymous Congressional member tipped off a local environmental group over the removal of what they estimated to be 1,000 trees.

"I am (upset) because they're ruining my club," the member said.

Congressional's Blue Course, which has hosted three U.S. Opens and most recently held a PGA Tour event in 2016, is scheduled for a renovation in 2019. Last month the PGA of America announced that it would be bringing several marquee tournaments to Congressional over the next two decades, including the 2031 PGA Championship and the 2036 Ryder Cup.