Cantigny Golf and the Evans Scholarship
A few years ago I was invited to attend the final interview for one of our
more recent Chick Evans Scholarship winners. I knew little about “the Evans”
until I inherited the caddie program in 2002 and I was excited to see how this
process actually worked. As I entered the interview room, a mid-sized ball room,
I was given a book of biographies for all of the candidates. This book was very
confidential and never to leave the confines of the Evans Scholar sanctum. I
began reading and soon found myself absorbed by the desperate plight of many of
these kids. Dysfunctional homes, schizophrenic and abusive parents, absent
parents and families (this term used loosely) with annual incomes of less than
After the final interview, I left the room amazed these kids were here and
not on the streets or worse. For sure many had been identified as at risk and
given help as they matured but to be here in this process for the honor of being
called an Evans Scholar was miraculous.
The Chick Evans Scholars Foundation, sponsored by The Western Golf
Association, was founded in 1930 and boasts of 9,200 alumni, 14 scholarship
houses on major midwest university campuses and 860 current scholars for
2010-11. The Scholarship is full tuition and housing and can be valued in the
tens of thousands of dollars. The Cantigny Golf caddie program is an infant in
the storied legacy of caddies around the world but I am proud to share with you
the eight who carry our banner:
- Mike Tiburtini, Cantigny’s first Evans Scholar went to Purdue.
- Greg and Laura Rawls, twins, went to Marquette.
- Megan Rawls, the younger sibling, also went to Marquette.
- Nick LaBianco, whose interview I attended, went to Purdue.
- Elliott LaBianco, the younger brother, attends Northwestern.
- Our two most recent, Dan Westergaard and Tyler Ester, were just awarded in
March of this year with school decisions pending.
I need to clarify while the opening picture for this article is very real;
thankfully none of our recipients find themselves in these dire straits. The
family units behind these young adults are stable and nurturing.
Let me close with an interesting example of the caring and giving nature
that so dominates the Evans Scholars today. Four years back, a foursome of
Evans Alumni was scheduled to play Cantigny on a Saturday morning and
requested caddies. As the group was preparing to tee off, I walked over to
say thanks for supporting the program. As we talked I mentioned I had two
younger caddies sitting in the “shack” who would probably not get out that
day. It took all of a New York second for this group to yell “unacceptable”
and asked that those two caddies be allowed to go with them. A few minutes
later, I was on the tee marveling at the sight of four players and six
caddies moving down the fairway. All were tipped handsomely!
I will profile many of our Evans Scholars in the future but for now I
invite all of you to share in this wonderful experience. If you wish to join
the Par Club, a major funding source for the Evans Foundation, please
contact me at MGreene@Cantigny.orgMGreene@Cantigny.org.
The McCormick Foundation makes an annual contribution. I encourage all
golfers to get out of the cart, hire a caddie and do good things for your
heart, the kids and the game.
Submitted by: Mike Greene, Outside Services Manager/Caddie Master
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