Payne Stewart


Born: January 30th, 1957 in Springfield, Missouri
Died: October 25th, 1999 (at age 42) in Mina, South Dakota
Nationality: American
Famous For: Being the winner of eleven PGA Tour tournaments
Awards: World Golf Hall of Fame, Byron Nelson Award

Payne Stewart was born on January 30th, 1957 in Missouri. Stewart, who started playing golf at age 4, was a co-champion of Southwest Conference during his senior year at the Southern Methodist University in Texas. After playing at the Southern Methodist University, he turned professional in 1979 but failed to earn a spot on the PGA tour at Qualifying School. Instead, he ventured into the Asian Tour where he won twice. Shortly afterwards, he earned a spot on the PGA Tour.

His Career

Payne Stewart learned from his father, Bill Stewart, who played in the U.S. Open in 1955. In the year 1982, Payne Stewart earned a PGA tour card. He won his very first title at the Miller High Life tournament with his father in the gallery. This was his first season on the tour and he impressed. This success was a milestone in Stewart’s career, but it grew in significance when it turned out to be the last time Bill would see his son win. Payne Stewart’s father lost his battle with cancer in 1985.


After his second title at the Walt Disney World Golf Classic in 1983, Stewart did not win another title until 1987, finishing runner up 6 times. In his father’s memory, Payne Stewart donated $108,000 of his next winner’s purse to a Florida hospital. He won his very first major title in 1989 at a PGA Championship when he amazingly came from 5 strokes down go past Mike Reid. In 1991, Stewart recovered from a nerve injury in his neck to win his second major title, the US Open.

Stewart became popular on the tour and among the fans for his style. Though his brash self-confidence as well as unapologetically candid views irritated some of his fellow golfers and members of the press, he remained the crowd favorite. In 1999, Stewart won his second US Open after he sunk a decisive 15 foot putt on the 18th hole, the longest putt ever to determine that championship.

Social Life

When people think about Payne Stewart, they remember the unique clothes, major championship victories as well as the style that set him apart from other golfers. That is who Payne Stewart was. But that was only part of who Stewart was. In his career and in his life, Stewart lived by his fundamentals: family, fun and courage. He was colorful and brash, but he was also soft and sentimental. He loved the feeling of pursuing the major championship and he loved the days with his family, when he could be a father and a husband.

On October 25th, 1999, Payne Stewart’s life ended in an airplane crash, months after he won the US open. Stewart was traveling to the PGA Championship in Florida from his home in Orlando.