Jack Nicklaus, the world’s greatest ever golf champion, tonight headlined the Western Golf Association’s third annual Green Coat Gala to benefit the Evans Scholars Foundation at The Peninsula Chicago hotel.
The winner of 18 major championships, two Western Open titles, and the Western Amateur Championship, Nicklaus took the stage after dinner and chatted with longtime friend and two-time U.S. Open champion Andy North, lead analyst for ESPN’s golf coverage.
The sold-out black-tie event was expected to raise more than $600,000 to help fund college scholarships for deserving golf caddies. Volunteer event chairs were Sharyl and Mike Mackey, of Chicago.
“The Western Golf Association is very grateful that Jack Nicklaus agreed to allow us to honor his unparalleled career as our special guest for the 2013 Green Coat Gala as a way to benefit the Evans Scholars Foundation,” said WGA President & CEO John Kaczkowski. “Jack remains golf’s greatest champion, and his three Western Golf Association tournament titles make him an integral part of the WGA’s history.”
A member of the World Golf Hall of Fame, Nicklaus won the 1967 and 1968 Western Opens, and holds the record for most victories in professional golf’s major championships, at 18. He has won six Masters titles, five PGA Championships, four U.S. Opens and three British Opens. He also won the 1961 Western Amateur, still one of the most prestigious titles in the amateur game.
The evening also featured Mark Abtahi, a current University of Illinois Evans Scholar, whose speech described how the Evans Scholarship has changed his life.
Peggy Kusinski, award-winning member of the NBC5 sports team, served as emcee for the evening.