Throwback Thursday: Payne Stewart's death stuns golf

The Scoop

On October 25, 1999 a story broke that would shock golf to its very core

The Background

The 1999 PGA Tour season was coming to a close as players headed to the Tour Championship in Houston, Texas.

One of those players was Payne Stewart, seventh on the money list thanks to a stellar year that included triumph at the US Open.

The Scene

Stewart had planned to fly to Dallas prior to the Tour Championship to discuss building a new home course for a golf project in the city.

Stewart never made it to Texas.

During his flight the cabin of his plane depressurised causing all six on board to be knocked unconscious. A series of fighter jets attempted to escort the jet to safety but the plane eventually ran out of fuel and crashed into the ground in South Dakota.

All six passengers on board were killed.

The Legacy

Stewart’s death came as a shock to the golfing world and was just four months after his US Open victory and only a month on from him helping the US to a famous Ryder Cup victory at Brookline.

On the week of the tournament Stuart Appleby organised a tribute where the players whore short trousers and long socks, a signature symbol of Stewart that made him an instantly recognisable character.

The PGA Tour announced the creation of the Payne Stewart Award in 2000. This is handed out to the player who shows respect and upholds the traditions of the game and its heritage of charitable support, something that Stewart was known for.

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