Justin Rose reflects on ‘overwhelming’ honor of Payne Stewart Award

Justine Rose PS Award

GREENSBORO, N.C. – Payne Stewart noticed a spindly 12-year-old waiting patiently outside the ropes at the Open Championship that day at Royal St. George’s and tossed him a golf ball.

Justin Rose, who is now 41, still remembers the feeling when he caught it.

“That was a cool moment and made my day,” he said.

So, imagine what it felt like on Monday when he hopped on a Zoom call to do some media interviews and the faces of Tracey Stewart and her son Aaron popped on the screen. Suddenly the cameras in the background made a little more sense.

Stewart’s widow and son were on the call to tell Rose that he was the 2021 winner of the Payne Stewart Award presented by Southern Company.

“My heart was pounding,” Rose said. “Speaking to Tracey and Aaron, (it) really sort of hit me when you see the family themselves who are so obviously invested in it and invested in Payne’s legacy.

“It made me realize — I’ve been to the awards ceremony many times, but now to be on the receiving end of things, the gravity of it definitely hits you.”

The award has been given annually since 2000 by the PGA TOUR to recognize a golfer who exemplifies Stewart’s character, sportsmanship and commitment to charity. Stewart, who counted three majors among his 11 TOUR victories, died in an airplane accident during the 1999 TOUR Championship.

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