ATLANTA – Steve Stricker, a 12-times winner on the PGA Tour who is known for his gracious demeanour and good sportsmanship, was named the recipient of the 2012 Payne Stewart Award on Tuesday.
The honour is given annually to a player sharing Stewart’s respect for the traditions of the game and his commitment to uphold golf’s heritage of charitable support.
“For years, Steve Stricker has epitomised everything that the Payne Stewart Award represents,” Tour commissioner Tim Finchem told reporters at East Lake Golf Club on Tuesday ahead of this week’s Tour Championship.
“From his professionalism on the golf course to his compassion for others off of it, it is hard to think of a more fitting recipient.”
Stricker, 45, was teary-eyed while speaking to reporters at East Lake.
“It’s very humbling and an honour that I never thought would be possible,” Stricker said. “I’m very fortunate, very blessed to be a part of this.
“Golf obviously means a lot to me. I’ve tried to conduct myself over the years ... to set an example, lead down the proper road, lead by example, and Payne did that.
“The guys that have won this award prior to me have done that. Those guys stand for what Payne was and what kind of person and what kind of player he was.”
Byron Nelson, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Ben Crenshaw, Nick Price, Tom Watson, Jay Haas, Brad Faxon, Gary Player, Hal Sutton, Davis Love III, Kenny Perry, Tom Lehman and David Toms were previous winners of the award.
American Stewart, who died in a plane crash in 1999, won 11 times on the PGA Tour including three majors.