World Golf Hall of Fame member and six-time major champion Sir Nick Faldo has been named the 2014 winner of the Payne Stewart Award by the PGA TOUR and Southern Company. Faldo will be honored in a private ceremony this evening in conjunction with the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola. Due to his father’s ailing health, however, Faldo was unable to make the trip from London; he will join the reception via satellite, and his son, Matthew, will attend to accept the award on Faldo’s behalf.
This year marks the 15th anniversary of the Payne Stewart Award, which is presented annually to a player who exemplifies Stewart’s steadfast values of character, charity and sportsmanship. 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. At the time, Southern Company was the sponsor of the event, and a year later, the PGA TOUR created the Payne Stewart Award to honor his legacy. Southern Company, the Official Energy Company of the PGA TOUR, has sponsored the award since its inception.
“Payne was an entertainer with a twinkle in his eye who brought a unique combination of passion and intensity both on and off the course,” said Faldo. “I’m delighted to be recognized in the name of one who was a true individual, a one-of-a-kind personality in this game and one who will always be remembered so fondly by his fellow players and golf fans around the world.”
Faldo’s career included 39 victories worldwide, highlighted by six major championships and 98 weeks atop the Official World Golf Ranking. From 1977 to 1997, Faldo made 11 consecutive Ryder Cup appearances and served as captain of Team Europe in 2008. Faldo now serves as lead analyst for CBS Sports and Golf Channel. His Faldo Designs company is a critically acclaimed golf course design group with 26 courses bearing his name around the world.
Between 1987 and 1996, Faldo won six major championships – three British Opens and three Masters Tournaments. Although he has a total of 39 tournament victories around the world, including six events on the PGA TOUR, Faldo’s focus was always on his performance in the Masters, U.S. Open, British Open and PGA Championship. In one stretch between 1988 and 1993, Faldo was never out of the top 20 in a Grand Slam event.
“Nick has used golf as a platform to inspire people around the world, much like that of Payne Stewart,” said Commissioner Tim Finchem. “He has set a wonderful example for today’s youth and made an impact on countless lives. He will make a great addition to the list of recipients. ”
In 1996, Faldo created the Faldo Series to help identify and nurture the next generation of champions through grass-roots initiatives and development for more talented players. Today, 40 annual tournaments take place in 30 plus countries worldwide, spanning the UK, Europe, South America, the Middle East and Asia. There are Championships in the US and Asia. The Faldo Series benefits approximately 7,000 young people annually from a unique combination of tournament experience and expert advice, including support and advice from Faldo himself.
Faldo becomes the 17th 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 (2008), Kenny Perry (2009), Tom Lehman (2010), David Toms (2011) Steve Stricker (2012) and Peter Jacobsen (2013).
In addition to a sculpture by Bob Pack presented to the recipient, the Payne Stewart Award is accompanied by an annual Payne Stewart Award Grant made possible by Southern Company. The $500,000 grant 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 $300,000 to a charity designated by the winner. Faldo has chosen the Faldo Series to receive his portion of the grant.
“Nick Faldo is an outstanding choice to be this year’s Payne Stewart Award winner and commemorate the 15th anniversary of the award,” said Southern Company Chairman, President and CEO Thomas A. Fanning. “Along with golf fans everywhere, I have for many years admired his athletic skills and – even more so – his commitment to enrich the lives of young people around the world.”