|Birth|| January 30, 1957 |
Mina, South Dakota
|College||Southern Methodist University|
|Professional wins||23 (PGA Tour: 11, Other: 12)|
| Major Championship results|
|U.S. Open||Won 1991, 1999|
|British Open||2nd/T2: 1985, 1990|
|PGA Championship||Won 1989|
|Byron Nelson Award||1989|
|World Golf Hall of Fame||2001|
Stewart was born in Springfield, Missouri, and attended Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, where he was a member of Phi Gamma Delta. He was always popular with fans, especially for his clothing, and was reputed to have the biggest wardrobe of all professional golfers. He was a favorite of photographers because of his tam o'shanter caps and patterned trousers, which were a combination of plus fours and knickerbockers, a throwback to the once-commonplace golfing "uniform".
Stewart represented the United States on five Ryder Cup teams (1987, 1989, 1991, 1993 and 1999) and was known for his patriotic passion for the event, once saying of his European opponents, "On paper, they should be caddying for us. He was disappointed to miss out in 1995 and 1997 when he failed to qualify automatically and wasn't chosen as a captain's pick. Stewart also played for the U.S. on three World Cup teams.
National Transportation Safety Board investigators concluded that the plane suffered a loss of cabin pressure and that all on board died of hypoxia, lack of oxygen. A delay of only a few seconds in donning oxygen masks, coupled with cognitive and motor skill impairment, could have been enough to result in the pilots' incapacitation. The NTSB report showed that the plane had several instances of maintenance work related to cabin pressure in the months leading up to the accident. The NTSB was unable to determine whether they stemmed from a common problem - replacements and repairs were documented, but not the pilot discrepancy reports that prompted them or the frequency of such reports. The report gently chides Sunjet Aviation for the possibility that this would have made the problem harder to identify, track, and resolve; as well as the fact that in at least one instance the plane was flown with an unauthorized maintenance deferral for cabin pressure problems.
There was some speculation that military jets were prepared to shoot down the Lear if it threatened to crash in a heavily populated area. Officials at the Pentagon strongly denied that possibility. "Shooting down the plane was never an option," Air Force spokesman Capt. Joe Della Vedova said. "I don't know where that came from."
Instead, according to an Air Force timeline, a series of military planes provided an emergency escort to the stricken Lear, beginning with an F-16 from Eglin Air Force Base, about an hour and twenty minutes (9:33 EDT to 9:52 CDT - see NTSB report on the crash) after ground controllers lost contact. The plane continued flying until it ran out of fuel and crashed into a field around Mina, a town ten miles west of Aberdeen, South Dakota after an uncontrolled descent. The five other people aboard the plane included his agents Robert Fraley and Van Ardan, and pilots Michael Kling and Stephanie Bellegarrigue, along with Bruce Borland, a highly-regarded golf architect with the Jack Nicklaus golf course design company.
At the time of his death, Stewart had won $12,673,193 in career earnings.
One year after Stewart's death, his widow Tracey and her two children, as well as the family of Stewart's agent Robert Fraley who also died on that flight, brought a lawsuit seeking $200,000,000 in damages against the Learjet's operator SunJet Aviation Inc and owner JetShares One Inc. The case was brought to trial in Federal Court in Orlando, Florida where in June 2005 jurors acquitted the defendants of responsibility for the crash. In their verdict, the jurors also found that the plane's manufacturer, Learjet, had no liability in the deaths of Stewart and Fraley due to negligence in the design or manufacture of the plane.
After his death, the stretch of Interstate 44 that passes through Springfield, Missouri was designated as the Payne Stewart Memorial Highway in his memory. He also has a street in Fullerton, CA named after him that leads into a golf course he designed in the hilly oil fields found there. There is also a street named "Payne Stewart Drive" in Surrey, BC Canada named after him that leads into the golf course designed by the great Arnold Palmer.
Major championships are shown in bold.
|Year||Championship||Winning Score||Margin||'''Runner(s) Up|
|1989||PGA Championship||-12 (74-66-69-67=276)||1 stroke||Andy Bean, Mike Reid, Curtis Strange|
|1991||U.S. Open||-6 (67-70-73-72=282)||Playoff1||Scott Simpson|
|1999||U.S. Open (2)||-1 (68-69-72-70=279)||1 stroke||Phil Mickelson|
|The Open Championship||T58||DNP||DNP||CUT||2||T35||T4||T7||T8|
|The Open Championship||T2||T32||T34||12||CUT||T11||T45||59||T44||T30|
DNP = Did not play
CUT = missed the half way cut
"T" indicates a tie for a place.
Green background for wins. Yellow background for top-10.