Hal Sutton, who has combined an impressive PGA TOUR playing record with significant charitable endeavors, has been named the 2007 winner of the Payne Stewart Award. Sutton was honored during a ceremony Wednesday at East Lake Golf Club, site of this week's TOUR Championship presented by Coca-Cola.
The award is named for the World Golf Hall of Fame member and 11-time PGA TOUR winner who died the week of THE TOUR Championship in 1999. It was created by the PGA TOUR Policy Board to perpetuate his memory by annually honoring a player who reflects Stewart's respect for the traditions of the game, his commitment to uphold the game's heritage of charitable support and his professional and meticulous presentation of himself and the sport through his dress and conduct.
A member of the TOUR since 1982 and former Policy Board member, Sutton has 14 victories to his credit, including two PLAYERS Championships and the 1983 PGA Championship. He also served as captain for the 2004 U.S. Ryder Cup team, for which he has played four times.
Sutton's charitable efforts include the establishment of the Christus Schumpert Sutton Children's Hospital in his hometown of Shreveport, La., and teaming with Louisianans Kelly Gibson and David Toms to raise more than $2 million in aid to Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita victims. Sutton was awarded the Omar N. Bradley Spirit of Independence Award in 2004 and the Golf Writers Association of America's 2006 Charlie Bartlett Award with Gibson and Toms for their relief efforts.
"Hal Sutton has been a prominent member of the PGA TOUR for many years and has always represented himself and the TOUR in a most professional manner," said PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem. "Hal selflessly has utilized his success as a golf professional to the benefit of our organization and countless individuals through his leadership and charitable work. It is a sincere honor to present the Payne Stewart Award to Hal this year."
Sutton becomes the 10th recipient of the award. The inaugural Payne Stewart Award was presented in 2000 to Byron Nelson, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer. Ben Crenshaw was the 2001 recipient, followed by Nick Price (2002), Tom Watson (2003), Jay Haas (2004), Brad Faxon (2005) and Gary Player (2006).
"Southern Company congratulates Hal Sutton on winning the 2007 Payne Stewart Award," said David Ratcliffe, Southern Company's chairman, president and CEO. "We are proud to partner with the PGA TOUR to honor Hal as such an outstanding individual on and off the golf course. He is a tremendous competitor who truly embodies the spirit of giving back to local communities."
In addition to a sculpture presented to the recipient, the Payne Stewart Award is accompanied by an annual Payne Stewart Award Grant presented by Southern Company. The $300,000 grant will support several initiatives in Stewart's name and be distributed as follows: $100,000 to Payne and Tracey Stewart's primary charity, The Stewart Family Foundation; $100,000 in Stewart's honor to The First Tee facility in Missouri, located at Camp Kanakuk, which is affiliated with the "Kids Across America" program; and $100,000 to a charity designated by Sutton.
The nominating panel for the Payne Stewart Award included the current co-chairmen of the TOUR's Player Advisory (David Toms and Faxon), the Chairman of the TOUR's Policy Board (Dick Ferris), the current President of the USGA (Walter Driver, Jr.), the current President of the PGA of America (Brian Whitcomb), the Chairman of Augusta National Golf Club (William Payne), the current President of the Golf Writers Association of America (Doug Ferguson, AP), the current President of the PGA TOUR Tournament Advisory Committee (Kym Hougham), and past recipients of the Payne Stewart Award.