Hale Irwin says he's humbled to receive Payne Stewart Award

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Hale Irwin says he's humbled to receive Payne Stewart Award

PGA Tour Champions

Hale Irwin says he's humbled to receive Payne Stewart Award

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Three-time U.S. Open champion and World Golf Hall of Fame member Hale Irwin just added another trophy at age 74.

This one belongs in a special place.

Irwin received the Payne Stewart Award, presented annually to a player who embodies Stewart’s principles of character and charity and marked by a statue in Stewart’s likeness. Irwin was presented with the honor at Tuesday night’s Payne Stewart Award Ceremony in Atlanta, coinciding with this week’s Tour Championship at East Lake.

A friend and “tremendous champion of our game,” according to Irwin, Stewart died in a plane crash at age 42 just months after winning the 1999 U.S. Open at Pinehurst.

“You could call him at any time and he would help immediately with whatever was needed, and I know he was that way with everyone he encountered,” Irwin said of Stewart in a release. “He is missed each day by all of us on the PGA Tour and PGA Tour Champions, and I am humbled to represent his character and passion with this award.”

The annual Hale Irwin St. Louis Children’s Hospital Golf Benefit has raised millions in its 25-year existence, established by its namesake to help one of the best children’s hospitals in the country.

The award comes with a $500,000 grant in Stewart’s name, which Irwin will divide in part among the St. Louis Children’s Hospital, Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation and other charities.

Irwin grew up in Baxter Springs, Kansas, and won the individual 1967 NCAA National Championship at Colorado, where he was also a two-time All-Big Eight defensive back for the football team. His stellar professional resume lists three U.S. Open titles, including the 1990 U.S. Open at Medinah where he became the oldest-ever winner at age 45.

A 20-time PGA Tour winner, Irwin was was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1992 before moving on to the senior circuit. The 45 senior titles he has since amassed are most ever for any player.

Recent recipients of the Payne Stewart Award include Bernhard Langer (2018), Stewart Cink (2017), Jim Furyk (2016), Ernie Els (2015) and Nick Faldo (2014).

“His competitive fire still inspires after 25 years on the PGA Tour Champions,” PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said. “And as someone who exemplifies Payne’s character and integrity, Hale continues to carry out Payne’s legacy through his commitment to family and his passion for helping others. The PGA Tour is proud to have Hale join what is a distinguished and legendary list of past recipients.”

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