O’Meara Honored At Annual Banquet Mark O’Meara, a tremendously consistent player and winner of two major championships, was the guest speaker and honored with the 16th Francis Ouimet Award for Lifelong Contributions to Golf at the Francis Ouimet Scholarship Fund’s 63rd Annual Banquet. The banquet was held Monday, May 7, 2012 at the Boston Marriott Copley Place in front of an audience of 1,350. The Connolly Group of Morgan Stanley Smith Barney was presenting sponsor.
Mark O’Meara was one of the top players on the PGA TOUR and abroad, winning 16 times on the PGA TOUR, and 14 more times around the globe. The capstone to his career is his two Major Championship victories in 1998, but he was one of the consistently best players in the game for many years, finishing in the top ten in money earnings seven times and spending nearly 200 weeks in the top ten of the Official World Golf Ranking from 1986-2000.
He learned the game in California, and it is there where he won AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am five times. He played there with his late father Bob O’Meara as his amateur partner several times, including one golden year in which they made the pro-am cut and Mark won the individual title. Mark has chosen to have a scholarship from the proceeds of the dinner to be named after his Dad.
He also played in five Ryder Cups and two Presidents Cups, and local golf fans will always remember him helping the U.S. team to victory at Brookline in 1999 and the fact that he finished third in the 1988 US Open there, just missing the Curtis Strange-Nick Faldo playoff. He is now one of the top players on the Champions Tour, including winning the Senior Players Championship in 2007.
Highberger Receives Connolly Distinguished Service Award
Ted Highberger, a former Ouimet Fund President, was presented the Richard F. Connolly Jr. Distinguished Service Award at the Banquet. The Richard F. Connolly Distinguished Service Award was established in 2000 in honor of Mr. Connolly, a Ouimet Scholarship alumnus, former President and Trustee and current Board Member who has proudly served the Ouimet Fund for over 37 years.
Mr. Highberger brought a great business acumen and love of golf to the Ouimet Fund, using those skills to make tremendous contributions to the organization. “Ted has helped The Fund in so many ways over the years. We are very grateful and proud to honor him tonight,” said Ouimet Fund President Richard M. Reilly.
Mr. Highberger became Ouimet Development and Major Gifts Chair in 2002 and served in that role for several years. It was a time of tremendous growth in endowed scholarships, many of which he personally sold or helped sell. He also recruited numerous Ouimet Society Lifetime Members and was greatly responsible for arranging for John MacKinnon to develop the Ouimet Dale Carnegie program. He was Ouimet President from 2006-2008 and still sits on the Ouimet Board and is active on several committees.
Bibaud Recognized as Student Speaker
Patrick Bibaud of Worcester Country Club and Manhattan College was the Student Speaker. He worked for eight years at Worcester Country Club as a caddie and in the bag room. His dad, Timothy Bibaud, was also a Ouimet Scholar. He majors in Business/Finance at Manhattan, where he also captains the golf team. The golf team has helped renovate Habitat for Humanity homes and apartments in New York City and Pat also coaches a Harlem Little League Team. In addition to the golf team, Pat has been a member of the Manhattan swim team for two years, participates actively in intramural sports, and serves on the college’s Functions Maintenance Crew. Pat attended St. John’s High School where he competed on the school’s Division 1 State Championship golf team. Pat has participated in the Ouimet Marathon as a fundraiser and player the past four years playing the most holes in 2010 and 2011. He also has participated in the Ouimet Fund’s NFL Alumni outing and caddied in the Deutsche Bank Championship Pro-Am. His speech focused on the doors opened to him by the financial assistance of his Ouimet Scholarship, and all in attendance acknowledged him with a standing ovation as a worthy representative of current Scholars.
Fund to Surpass Scholarship Milestones
Also at the Banquet, it was announced that the Ouimet Fund will award $1.5 Million in scholarships in 2012-2013 and that will bring it to the milestone levels of $25 Million in awards since its founding in 1949 and 5,000 students receiving scholarships. “Tonight I am proud to announce that the Ouimet Fund will be able to award $1.5 Million in scholarships in the coming year. I’m especially thrilled that we will get to $25 Million in awards since our founding in this coming year, and also reach 5,000 students who have received awards over the years – the year we will also celebrate the centennial of Mr. Ouimet’s historic US Open victory,” announced Richard M. Reilly, Ouimet Fund President.
2010 Annika Sorenstam
2009 Tom Watson
2008 Gary Player
2007 Barbara and Jack Nicklaus
2006 Peter Jacobsen
2005 Greg Norman
2004 Nancy Lopez
2003 Chi Chi Rodriguez
2002 Former President George H.W. Bush
2001 Ken Venturi & Eddie Lowery
2000 Curtis Strange
1999 Ben Crenshaw
1998 Gene Sarazen
1997 Arnold Palmer