Golf: Mikiel Thompson lands prestigious Evans Scholarship
By Erik Jacobsen firstname.lastname@example.org June 30, 2012 5:18PM
Elgin Country Club caddie Mikiel Thompson landed an Evans Scholarship earlier this spring. The Elgin resident and Burlington Central graduate will attend Northern Illinois starting this fall. | Michael Smart~Sun-Times Media
Updated: August 2, 2012 6:19AM
To hear Elgin resident Mikiel Thompson explain it, he began caddying at Elgin Country Club several years ago more or less on a whim.
“The course is across the street from my house,” Thompson said. “I’d heard about my friends caddying, so I went and tried it out and really enjoyed it.”
The impulse turned out to be more lucrative than Thompson could have ever imagined.
Now in his fourth year as a caddie at the private course on Elgin’s west side, Thompson turned his summer job into a full ride through college by landing the prestigious Chick Evans Caddie Scholarship earlier this spring.
Thompson, who graduated from Burlington Central in early June, is the 10th caddie from Elgin Country Club to receive the scholarship, which is valued at over $100,000. The award will support Thompson throughout his time at Northern Illinois, where he plans to major in political science this fall in hopes of one day becoming a lawyer.
“I was really shocked and excited when I found out I got the scholarship,” Thompson said. “You don’t think you’re actually going to get it, so when you do it’s really rewarding.”
Thompson was an honors student at Burlington Central, and although he says he doesn’t play much golf, he was an honorable mention to The Courier-News All-Area football team for his efforts as a wide receiver with the Rockets. He also competed in the triple jump for the school’s track team.
All candidates for the Evans Scholarship must meet the following qualifications: a strong caddie record, excellent academics, demonstrated financial need and outstanding character.
Thompson was encouraged to apply for the scholarship by Matt Wojciechowski, the caddie master and an assistant golf professional at Elgin Country Club. The process included an interview with 12 Western Golf Association members.
“Mikiel is one of the nicest kids we’ve got and he’s a really hard worker,” Wojciechowski said.
Adds Jon Duppler, Elgin Country Club’s head professional: “Mikiel is always reliable and he does a good job. He’s a smart kid too. He’s starting to get requested more and more by members.”
The Evans scholarship is named after Charles “Chick” Evans Jr., of Chicago, who learned the game of golf as a caddie.
Evans gained worldwide fame in 1916 when he became the first golfer to win both the U.S. Amateur and the U.S. Open championships in the same year. Evans directed that all money he received from golf go to funding caddie scholarships.
The Western Golf Association administers the scholarship program through the Evans Scholars Foundation. The scholarship provides for tuition and housing in an Evans Scholarship House and may be renewed up to four years at the foundation’s option.
Thompson will continue to caddie at Elgin Country Club throughout his undergraduate years at Northern Illinois, which is one of the requirements for yearly renewal of the Evans Scholarship.
The nine caddies from Elgin Country Club who have previously been awarded the scholarship are R. Erik Soderstrom (Indiana), Nathan Funk (Northern Illinois), Brad Horton (Northwestern), Russel Ambrosen (Northern Illinois), Doug Horton (Indiana), Yoichi Kodamo (Northern Illinois), Manuel Diaz (Northwestern), David Kolzow (Northern Illinois) and Devin Skopek (Northern Illinois).