ATLANTA -- David Toms has won 13 tournaments in his PGA TOUR career. He's also played on winning Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup teams. But winning the Payne Stewart Award, which recognizes the spirit of the late champion, comes with a greater meaning.
"It's different than winning golf tournaments," Toms said after he was announced as this year's recipient. "It goes beyond that."
The Payne Stewart Award was awarded for the 12th time this week. The winner represents sportsmanship, integrity, the spirit of giving back and understanding what it means to be a role model, said PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem. It goes to an individual "who through their actions on and off the golf course has distinguished himself with his demeanor, his preparation, his words and his actions," Finchem added.
Toms was voted as this year's winner by a committee that includes some of the previous recipients. His foundation has raised millions of dollars for abandoned, underprivileged and abused children in Louisiana, and was also involved in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
"In Louisiana generally and Shreveport specifically, his foundation activity is well-recognized," Finchem said.
Asked about Stewart, Toms said one of his regrets is that he did not play in a team competition with his fellow American. Toms has played on three Presidents Cup (and will be playing in another this November in Australia) and also three Ryder Cups, but none before Stewart's death in 1999.
"Knowing what those team competitions are all about, I know it would have been a lot of fun," Toms said. "He was always the guy in the locker room that made people laugh, that was pulling practical jokes on people. ...
"To not be able to play on one of those teams and really get to know him better this way, I regret."