Lehman becomes 13th recipient of Payne Stewart Award

September 21, 2010
PGA TOUR staff

ATLANTA -- Tom Lehman, a champion throughout his nearly 30-year professional career -- on the Nationwide Tour, PGA TOUR and Champions Tour -- and an advocate for several charitable causes, has been named the 2010 winner of the Payne Stewart Award as announced today in a press conference with PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem. Lehman will be honored during a private reception this evening as part of the festivities at THE TOUR Championship presented by Coca-Cola, the culminating event of the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup.

The Payne Stewart Award is presented annually to a player sharing 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. Stewart, an 11-time winner on the PGA TOUR and World Golf Hall of Fame member, died tragically the week of THE TOUR Championship in 1999.

"I am humbled to receive this year's Payne Stewart Award," said Lehman. "It is an honor that so many truly deserve. To be selected from among so many remarkable human beings only makes me want to be a better person. We are all the result of the influence and love of many, many people in our lives. I am deeply appreciative of all of those in my own life. I desire to be a worthy recipient of this award, and I hope to always uphold the legacy of our friend, Payne Stewart."

Lehman, a native of Minnesota, turned professional in 1982. He has been a solid and steady force throughout his career, although it took him several years to establish himself as a top player. Lehman played on TOUR from 1983-85 with lukewarm success and turned to tours in Asia and South Africa to hone his game for several seasons.

In 1990 and 1991, he won four times on the Nationwide Tour (then the Ben Hogan Tour), was the Player of the Year and gained his PGA TOUR card again by topping the circuit's 1991 money list.

The first PGA TOUR win of Lehman's career came at the 1994 Memorial Tournament and he added another title the following year at the 1995 Colonial National Invitational. It was in 1996, however, that Lehman recorded the highlight of his golfing career -- a win at the British Open and a course-record 64 in the third round at Royal Lytham & St. Annes.

Lehman was the first American professional to win at that venue and the first since amateur Bobby Jones in 1926. He capped off his season with a six-stroke win at THE TOUR Championship and was named PGA TOUR Player of the Year, becoming the first -- and to date, only -- player to win the honor on both the PGA TOUR and the Nationwide Tour. His fifth and most recent PGA TOUR victory came in 1995 at the Phoenix Open.

Lehman competed for the United States in three Ryder Cups (1995, 1997, 1999) and three Presidents Cups (1994, 1996, 2000). He served as captain of the 2006 U.S. Ryder Cup Team.

In April 2009, Lehman became the 13th Champions Tour player to win his debut tournament. He teamed with Bernhard Langer to win the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf in a playoff over Jeff Sluman and Craig Stadler. Earlier this year, Lehman won the Senior PGA Championship in a playoff over Fred Couples and David Frost for his first Champions Tour major championship.

Lehman, a born-again Christian, is dedicated to using the game of golf to give back to his community and those in need. From 1995-2002, Lehman hosted a charity golf tournament that raised more than $4.7 million for the Children's Cancer Research Fund at the University of Minnesota. He is also involved with "Match Point," a Phoenix-based program that matches adults with troubled children, giving both his money and time.

Lehman was honored with the 2001 Charles Bartlett Award, given by the Golf Writers Association of America, for unselfish contributions to golf. He also received the first Byron Nelson Prize from the Salesmanship Club of Dallas at the 2007 EDS Byron Nelson Championship. The award is given to a person or organization in the golf world who exemplifies the ideals of "giving back" that Nelson personified.

Lehman and his wife Melissa live in Arizona. They have four children.

"As we enter the second decade of the Payne Stewart Award, Tom Lehman's name, reputation, character and accomplishments are certainly at home on the list with those who have received the award before him," said PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem. "Tom has achieved success both on the course and in his personal life, and he has utilized that success to help improve the lives of those around him. We're thrilled to honor Tom with the Payne Stewart Award and thank him for his service to the PGA TOUR, the game of golf and the charitable community."

Lehman becomes the 13th 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), Gary Player (2006), Hal Sutton (2007), Davis Love III (2009) and Kenny Perry (2009).

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 supports several initiatives in Stewart's name and is 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 of the Ozarks located in Missouri at Kids Across America, which is affiliated with Kanakuk Kamps; and $100,000 to a charity designated by the winner. Lehman has chosen the Lehman Family Foundation.

"It is a privilege for Southern Company to partner with the PGA TOUR to recognize individuals such as Tom Lehman who embody the game's traditions of honor, respect and personal integrity," said Southern Company Chairman and CEO David M. Ratcliffe. "Tom is a genuine role model, not only on the golf course, but in his community."