Atlanta, United States: In acknowledgement of his exceptional character, sportsmanship and unwavering commitment to charitable impact, Hale Irwin has been named the recipient of the PGA Tour’s Payne Stewart Award presented by Southern Company.
Irwin will be honoured next Tuesday (August 20), at the Payne Stewart Award Ceremony in conjunction with the Tour Championship. The ceremony will be televised live on Golf Channel.
The Payne Stewart Award is presented annually by the PGA Tour to a professional golfer who best exemplifies Stewart’s steadfast values of character, charity and sportsmanship. Stewart, an 11-time winner on the PGA Tour and World Golf Hall of Fame member, died tragically 20 years ago during the week of the Tour Championship in 1999.
Southern Company, the ‘Official Energy Company of the PGA Tour and PGA Tour Champions’, was the Tour Championship sponsor the year of Stewart’s passing. A year later, the PGA Tour created the Payne Stewart Award in his honour, and Southern Company has supported the annual presentation since its inception.
The past winners have all distinguished themselves through their respect for the game, the Tour’s tradition of charity and their ability to make a positive impact in the lives of others.
“When Tracey (Stewart) told me that I would be the 2019 recipient of the Payne Stewart Award, I was honestly surprised yet overcome with emotion and pride when thinking of Payne, the honour of this Award which bears his name and the many deserving players who have earned it before me,” Irwin said. “Payne was a friend and a tremendous champion of our game, but more than that, he was committed to leaving a remarkable impact through golf which is still felt today.
“You could call him at any time and he would help immediately with whatever was needed, and I know he was that way with everyone he encountered. He is missed each day by all of us on the PGA Tour and PGA Tour Champions, and I am humbled to represent his character and passion with this Award.”
Born in Joplin, Missouri, but raised in Baxter Springs, Kansas, Irwin was introduced to the game at four years old and spent countless hours with his father practicing on the sand greens at their local municipal course. He attended the University of Colorado where he was the 1967 NCAA individual champion in golf and two-time All-Big Eight selection as a defensive back in football. Irwin and his wife Sally currently reside in Paradise Valley, Arizona, and have two children.
“Hale Irwin is an incredibly deserving Payne Stewart Award recipient,” said PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan. “Starting with his first PGA Tour title in 1971 to his most recent PGA Tour Champions victory in 2007, his accomplishments over the course of a career that spans more than 50 years is nothing short of spectacular.
“Even today, his competitive fire still inspires after 25 years on PGA Tour Champions. And as someone who exemplifies Payne’s character and integrity, Hale continues to carry out Payne’s legacy through his commitment to family and his passion for helping others. The PGA Tour is proud to have Hale join what is a distinguished and legendary list of past recipients.”
In addition to a sculpture by Bob Pack presented to the recipient, the Payne Stewart Award is accompanied by an annual Payne Stewart Award Grant made possible by Southern Company. The US$500,000 grant supports several initiatives in Stewart’s name and is distributed as follows: US$100,000 to Payne and Tracey Stewart’s primary charity, The Stewart Family Foundation; US$100,000 in Stewart’s honour to Payne Stewart Memorial, located in Missouri at Kids Across America, which is affiliated with Kanakuk Kamps; and US$300,000 to a charity designated by the winner.
Irwin has chosen to designate the St Louis Children’s Hospital, Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation, TGen (Translational Genomics Research Institute) and Folds of Honour.