View the photo gallery from the 2012 Green Coat Gala.
Golf legend Tom Watson was the featured speaker at the Western Golf Association’s second annual Green Coat Gala, held Nov. 9 at The Peninsula Chicago.
More than 300 supporters of the Evans Scholars Foundation attended the black-tie affair, which raised over $600,000 to help send deserving caddies to college on an Evans Scholarship.
Guests enjoyed a night of dinner and dancing, in addition to hearing from Watson and Evans Scholar Maryclaret Ndubuisi-Obi, a sophomore at Marquette University. The event also featured live and silent auctions and a paddle raise for donations to the Evans Scholars Program.
Watson, winner of 70 pro tournaments, including eight major championships and three Western Opens, has been named PGA TOUR Player of the Year six times and is a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame. He spoke about his career and his affiliation with the WGA, including his three Western Open wins in 1974, 1977 and 1984. He also paid special tribute to his own longtime caddie Bruce Edwards, who died after battling ALS.
WGA President and CEO John Kaczkowski inducted Watson into the WGA’s Caddie Hall of Fame, which honors former caddies and other caddie supporters.
Ndubuisi-Obi also addressed the crowd, speaking about her journey from Nigeria, where she and her family lived in a cramped apartment and struggled for food, running water and electricity. Her father brought her and her brothers to America for a chance at a better life. When she began caddying at Oak Park Country Club, she realized the Evans Scholarship could help her achieve her dream of going to medical school and becoming an obstetrician.
Her journey was detailed in an NBC segment that aired during the 2012 BMW Championship. It was also shown at the Gala.
“Without this scholarship, I would not be standing here today as a proud and confident student,” she told the Gala crowd. “The Evans Scholarship has placed a strong foundation for me to stand on. As my father has always said to me: ‘There is no boundary to happiness; no boundary to life.’ The Evans Scholarship has broken all boundaries that blocked my way and has given me a new path on which to travel. And for this, I am truly grateful.”
Ndubuisi-Obi is one of 835 Evans Scholars at 19 universities across the country this year. Proceeds from the Gala will help pay tuition to continue sending deserving caddies to college. Evans Scholars are leaders inside the classroom, holding a 3.25 cumulative GPA, and in the community, where they participate and organize numerous philanthropic events throughout the year.
The event committee chairs were Sharyl and Mike Mackey of Chicago.