Payne Stewart - U.S.A. - Biography of his golfing career.

Photo/Foto: George Herringshaw

Date: 17 July 1985

Click on image to enlarge

      Wednesday, 30 January 1957
      Springfield, U.S.A. Died October 25, 1999 (aged 42).
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Payne STEWART - U.S.A. - Biography of his golfing career.

                                   1979-86.    Close to his first major, at the 1985 Open.


 On the 25th October 1999 the golfing world mourned the loss of one of it's favourite sons when Payne Stewart's private jet crashed,killing all onboard. Stewart was much loved for his bubbly personality and flamboyant dress sense but above all he will be remembered as a true gentleman on and off the course. Payne had joined the professional game in 1979 and it was on the Asian Circuit that he first began to dispay his talents. He tasted success at the 1981 Indian and Indonesian Opens on his way to a third place finish in the Order of Merit. The following year he captured his first US Tour event with victory at the Quad Cities Open,mainly thanks to a superb closing round 63. In 1983 he won the Walt Disney World Golf Classic,playing some fine golf to return rounds of 69,64,69 and 67 for a nineteen under par total.


It was to be four long years before the man from Springfield would add to those two Tour victories but in that time he proved himself to be a prolific money winner. In 1986,for example,he finished third on the US Tour Money List with a total of $535,389. For any ambitious golfer however,which Payne certainly was,it is all about winning tournaments and in 1985 he came within a whisker of landing one of the games biggest. In a high scoring Open Championship at Sandwich the American finished just one stroke behind the champion Sandy Lyle,who returned a two over par total. Stewart's undoing proved to be his second round 75 and despite a closing effort of 68 (the photo above shows Payne on the 17th tee during the final round),compared to Lyle's 70,it was the Scot who clung on for his first major. (David Scranage)


The photo above of U.S. golfer Payne Stewart was taken on 14th. July 1987 at the British Open.

Picture by George Herringshaw.  ©


Years 1987-90.                       His first major - at 1989 PGA.


 Payne Stewart returned to the winners rostrum with his victory at the 1987 Hertz Bay Hill Classic - a success that played no small part in him making his Ryder Cup bow that same year. It was not the debut he would have hoped for,however,as the Americans went down to their first defeat on home soil for many a year. Payne had the misfortune to come up against the formidable Ballesteros/Olazabal pairing in each of his first two matches and on both occasions went down to the narrowest of defeats. He came back strongly though to register a four-balls win in partnership with Andy Bean,whilst in the singles he gained some revenge over Olazabal with a two up victory.


The year of 1989 proved to be a magnificent one for Payne - he won $1,201,301 on his way to a second place finish in the Money List but,more importantly,he captured his first major title when winning the PGA Championship. He had started the tournament poorly with an opening round 74 but rounds of 66 and 69 brought him back into contention,albeit six strokes back on leader Mike Reid. Last day nerves struck Reid,however,and Payne's closing 67,for a twelve under par total,was sufficient to give him a one stroke victory from Andy Bean,Curtis Strange and the faltering Reid. At the 1990 Open Championship Stewart produced some highly consistent golf to return three consecutive rounds of 68 followed by a closing day 71. Any other year he could have expected to lift the trophy but Payne was unfortunate enough to encounter Nick Faldo at the very peak of his powers. The Englishman played some sublime golf to finish at eighteen under par with Stewart five shots back at thirteen under. (David Scranage)



Stuart Franklin took this photograph of Payne Stewart on 23rd. September 1993.  © G.H.


                      1991-93.                             Second major  - at 1991 US Open.


 Payne Stewart captured his second major with a play-off victory over Scott Simpson in the 1991 US Open,played at the Hazeltine National course. The two Americans had finished the four rounds all-square at three under par which meant,under US Open rules,returning for a further eighteen holes the next day. Neither man could reproduce the form of the previous four days,but it was Payne who took the honours with a round of 75 compared to Simpson's 77. Stewart was back on Ryder Cup duty for the rather ill-tempered 1991 match at Kiawah Island as the Americans triumphed for the first time since 1983. Payne's contribution was the useful return of two and a half points from his four matches,with each of his two wins coming in partnership with Mark Calcavecchia. Amid the most amazing tension the Americans took the trophy courtesy of a 14 1/2-13 1/2 scoreline in a match that went down to the last green of the last match.


In 1993 Stewart,who was always recognizable due to his trademark plus fours,came close to landing a second US Open crown. He finished at six under par but had to settle for second place just two strokes behind Lee Janzen who had played consistently well all week to shoot two 67s and two 69s. The '93 Ryder Cup saw Payne produce his best return in the event,with three points from a possible four,to help his team retain the trophy. Stewart's performance epitomised the fighting spirit he had shown thoughout his career as in the first day morning foursomes he and Paul Azinger had been handed a 7&5 thrashing by Ian Woosnam and Bernhard Langer. (David Scranage)