Remembering Payne Stewart

Sometimes it seems that time passes by so quickly. It’s hard to believe that today marks the 15th anniversary of the passing of one of golf’s most memorable players.

Payne Stewart won 11 times on the PGA TOUR and was a 3-time major championship winner. He did it with flair, grace and won pretty much every fan over in the process. He was a gentleman who played the game right, but also had a great intensity about him that showed what kind of competitor he was. On Oct. 25, 1999, Stewart tragically died in a plane crash when the cabin lost pressure. All on board died of hypoxia — a condition in which the body or a region of the body is deprived of adequate oxygen supply.

I still remember when I heard the news from a co-worker. It seemed almost surreal. I didn’t believe him at first and thought it was some type of sick joke. I had just seen Stewart at the Ryder Cup in Brookline a few weeks earlier and watched on as he celebrated their improbable comeback along with his US teammates.

A lot of great golfing moments have happened since his passing at a way too young age of 42. But Payne helped to provide quite a lot of memories himself will live on in golf history.

@ Good Walk Spoiled

Holiday Reading – “The Swinger” by Alan Shipnuck & Michael Bamberger

“The Swinger” by long-time golf reporters Alan Shipnuck and Michael Bamberger, tells the story of Herbert X “Tree” Tremont. Tremont was a golf prodigy who became the best golfer on the planet, a billionaire athlete recognized all over the world, and the center of a maelstrom when life came crashing down after his secret life of extreme infidelity and use of performance enhancing drugs was exposed. Sound a little too familiar?

Shipnuck and Bamberger don’t try to hide the fact that this “fictional” novel is thinly disguised as the Tiger Woods story we all know. But with their combined four decades of covering the PGA Tour, the authors provide a really great look at life behind the ropes of the PGA Tour – and definitely have a lot of fun with the story.

The first person narrative gives the book an easy flow and makes it easy you to put yourself in the shoes of the narrator. Just like the real Tiger story, after the scandal most fans seem to welcome “Tree” back with open arms and want to see him succeed. Tremont looks for redemption, has a renewed enjoyment of time the fans and his fellow players, and from the experience emerges as a much more humble and human person. I think most of us are still waiting and hoping for the real Tiger to perhaps take that cue.

Overall, “The Swinger” is a fun read, especially for anyone who is a fan of golf and the PGA Tour. It is a little bit like reading the book after you’ve already seen the movie, but the story keeps you on your toes with twists and turns as Tree’s life starts to fall apart all around him. It can be seen as a hopeful story for those that are waiting for Tiger to return to form, and emerge as the person many of us hope he can become.

@ Good Walk Spoiled