In acknowledgement of his exceptional character, sportsmanship and unwavering commitment to charitable impact, Hale Irwin has been named the recipient of the PGA TOUR’s Payne Stewart Award presented by Southern Company.
Irwin will be honored on Tuesday, August 20, at the Payne Stewart Award Ceremony in conjunction with the TOUR Championship. The ceremony will be televised live on Golf Channel as part of a “Golf Central” special from 7-8 p.m. ET.
The Payne Stewart Award is presented annually by the PGA TOUR to a professional golfer who best exemplifies Stewart’s steadfast values of character, charity and sportsmanship. Stewart, an 11-time winner on the PGA TOUR and World Golf Hall of Fame member, died tragically 20 years ago during the week of the TOUR Championship in 1999.
Southern Company was the TOUR Championship sponsor the year of Stewart’s passing. A year later, the PGA TOUR created the Payne Stewart Award in his honor, and Southern Company has supported the annual presentation since its inception.
“When Tracey told me that I would be the 2019 recipient of the Payne Stewart Award, I was honestly surprised yet overcome with emotion and pride when thinking of Payne, the honor of this Award which bears his name and the many deserving players who have earned it before me,” Irwin said.
“Payne was a friend and a tremendous champion of our game, but more than that, he was committed to leaving a remarkable impact through golf which is still felt today. 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. 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.”
Irwin attended the University of Colorado where he was the 1967 NCAA individual champion in golf and two-time All Big Eight selection as a defensive back in football. Irwin and his wife Sally currently reside in Paradise Valley, Arizona, and have two children: Becky and Steven.
During his illustrious career, Irwin won 20 times on the PGA TOUR from 1971- 1994 and turned in quite the encore on PGA TOUR Champions by collecting the Tour’s most-ever victories with 45.
Since turning professional in 1968, Irwin has over 90 worldwide victories and is one of five players to win tournaments on six continents, joining past Payne Stewart Award recipients Gary Player and Bernhard Langer, as well as David Graham and Justin Rose.
Irwin was a five-time Ryder Cup participant and led the U.S. Team in the inaugural Presidents Cup in 1994 as the event’s only playing captain to date. A three-time U.S. Open champion (1974, 1979, 1990) and the oldest to win the U.S. Open at 45 years old, Irwin was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1992.
When he officially joined PGA TOUR Champions after turning 50 in 1995, Irwin won 20 times over his first four seasons, including 9-win and 7-win seasons in 1997 and 1998, respectively. Now in his 25th season, Irwin’s 45 PGA TOUR Champions titles remain the most all time.
He’s earned three Player of the Year Awards and two Charles Schwab Cups as the season-long champion (2002, 2004) following the competition’s inception in 2001.
Irwin is the 22nd recipient of the Payne Stewart Award, joining a distinguished group of respected golfers including Bernhard Langer, who was recognized in 2018, and the inaugural recipients Byron Nelson, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer (2000).
Other recipients include Stewart Cink (2017), Jim Furyk (2016), Ernie Els (2015), Sir Nick Faldo (2014), Peter Jacobsen (2013), Steve Stricker (2012), David Toms (2011), Tom Lehman (2010), Kenny Perry (2009), Davis Love III (2008), Hal Sutton (2007), Gary Player (2006), Brad Faxon (2005), Jay Haas (2004), Tom Watson (2003), Nick Price (2002) and Ben Crenshaw (2001).