FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Three Purdue students are spending the weekend in some of the best seats at the PGA Web.com Tour’s Hotel Fitness Championship at Sycamore Hills. The three are all Evans Scholars, which gets the revenue generated from the golf tournament, and are spending some time with the golfers and their caddies.
Ticket sales and other generated revenue will go to the Western Golf Association Evans Scholars Foundation, an organization that awards college scholarships to caddies with limited financial means. Proceeds from the 2013 HFC also went to benefit the foundation.
The three students, Troy Lenz, Stephen Macenas, and Taylor Brantley, are spending the weekend as the pin attendants at hole 18. All three are Evans Scholars, and have been caddying since before they entered the ninth grade.
“We always say we’re life changing, said Brian Shell, the foundation’s director of education. “From the moment you start caddying, to the time you’re an alum of the program, it’s truly something you’ll always with you.”
The three students rotate turns taking the pin on the 18th green from the golfers’ caddies, and get to have some short conversations with both the golfers and caddies while they finish the hole.
There are no other pin attendants at the event.
“Some people think golfers are like any other celebrity or athlete,” Lenz told NewsChannel 15. “No. They’re normal people. They’re all asking us how it’s going.”
Evans Scholars began in 1930, when it put two students through college at Northwestern University. This school year, it will put its 10,000th graduate through college.
Shell couldn’t get specifics about how much money is raised for the foundation through the Hotel Fitness Championship, but said the organization has an annual budget of approximately $14 million. He added that each student’s full-ride scholarship cost close to $80,000.
“I am so thankful for [the program],” Macenas said. “It’s the best summer job I could ask for. It gets me up early, it gets me out working, and I have some extra cash in my pocket.”
Along with Purdue, Indiana University and Notre Dame also have Evans Scholars on their campuses. Across the country, there are currently 870 Evans Scholars. Leaders with the foundation hope to see that number increase to 1,000 students a year by 2020.
There are several things a high school-aged caddy must do to be eligible for the scholarship, and other requirements to maintain it. Click here to learn more about the program.