PAYNE STEWART AWARD
Faldo embodies the Payne Stewart Award
September 09, 2014
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
- The Faldo Series has been supporting and growing youth golf all around the world. (Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
ATLANTA -- Nick Faldo remembers the confident walk, those distinctive plus-fours and that fluid swing with the high hands and the big knees in his follow through.
Perhaps his favorite memory of Payne Stewart, though, comes from one of the many Ryder Cups in which the two competed.
"He'd wake the team with one of those giant boom boxes things in those days with Bruce Springsteen blaring out 'Born in the USA,' " Faldo said with a smile. "So that was delightful at 6:30 in the morning."
Win or lose, though, the larger-than-life American was the epitome of class, charity and sportsmanship -- which is why the PGA TOUR and the Southern Company decided to honor his legacy with the Payne Stewart Award. Faldo is this year's recipient and he'll be honored Tuesday night in Atlanta.
Stewart died in plane crash in 1999 on the Monday prior to the TOUR Championship presented by Coca-Cola. The Payne Stewart Award is given annually during the FedExCup Playoffs finale to the player who best embodies Stewart's character and the TOUR's mission of giving back.
Faldo, the six-time major champion who has recreated himself as one of the game's most popular and insightful broadcasters, couldn't be at East Lake to accept the award because of the death of his father back home in England.
The World Golf Hall of Famer's competitive record puts Faldo among the best in the game's history. Among his 39 worldwide victories are three Masters and three The Open Championships. He played in 11 Ryder Cups, as well, captained another and still holds the record for most points earned.
Faldo won his six majors in a nine-year span. As further evidence of his excellence on the golf course, the Englishman didn't finish outside the top 20 in any major championship from 1988-93.
"The one thing I admired about Nick more than anything was his willingness to do whatever it took to win," said Brandt Snedeker, who won the FedExCup in 2012 at East Lake. "His work ethic, his game plan, his meticulous nature on the golf course -- that's something I strive for every day.
"I know I'll never get to his level with that kind of preparation that he did but it's still very impressive to look back and see what he did."
But the Brit's passion these days is the Faldo Series, which he created in 1996 to help introduce young boys and girls from around the world to the game and give them playing opportunities. There are five age groups and kids from 12-21 are eligible to compete in what has grown to 40 events in more than 30 countries.
"Obviously, this award means a tremendous amount to me and the Faldo Series," Faldo said. "We're 18 years in to our series now in what I would call pay forward, pay back, go golf. So what we've done I'm very proud of."
"It's a big one," said Jim Nantz, Faldo's CBS broadcast partner. "I consider him now to have seven major championships."
Among the past Faldo Series participants are current World No. 1 Rory McIlroy and Yani Tseng, who also reached the top of the women's rankings. Faldo spent 98 weeks at the top of the rankings during his career.
"He's been a huge supporter of junior golf all over the world," McIlroy said. "He's got his Faldo Series ... giving kids an opportunity to play. I was one of those kids once so I'm very grateful for what he's done for this game and what he's done for me personally. ...
"He's been a great help to me along the way and he's very deserving recipient of the Payne Stewart Award."
Faldo is the 17th recipient. Other recipients are Byron Nelson, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer (2000), Ben Crenshaw (2001), Nick Price (2002), Tom Watson (2003), Jay Haas (2004), Brad Faxon (2005), Gary Player (2006), Hal Sutton (2007), Davis Love III (2008), Kenny Perry (2009), Tom Lehman (2010), David Toms (2011) Steve Stricker (2012) and Peter Jacobsen (2013).
Thanks to the Southern Company, the Faldo Series will receive $300,000 of the annual Payne Stewart Award Grant. In addition, the Stewart Family Foundation will receive $100,000, as will The First Tee of the Ozarks in Stewart's name.
See photos of Faldo's career milestones and accomplishments in the gallery below
Payne Stewart Award
Nick Faldo comments on winning the Payne Stewart Award