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October 31, 2001

Ian Baker-Finch

Ben Crenshaw

Chris DiMarco

Tim Finchem


IAN BAKER-FINCH: Good morning. Welcome to the presentation of 2001 Payne Stewart Award. Today as we honor the memory of a great champion we can't help but think back to when many of us were gathered here just two short years ago. What should have been an action-packed and exciting week for the PGA TOUR became one filled with sadness and loss of Payne Stewart. But today we don't come here with heavy hearts, but instead to honor him and Payne's legacy to the game of golf. The PGA TOUR Policy Board created this award to recognize each year a player who shares Payne's respect for the traditions of the game, his commitment to uphold the game's Heritage of charitable sport and his meticulous presentation of himself and the sport through his dress and conduct. Payne was a proud American, a proud father and was very highly respected in the world of golf, not just on the PGA TOUR here with the players that are here today, but throughout the world he exemplified what professional golf is all about, and I am very proud to be here. I'd like you now to please turn your attention to the jumbo scene behind me and enjoy this short video. (Video played.) (APPLAUSE). We miss you, Payne. Ladies and gentlemen it's a pleasure now to introduce to you all the Commissioner of the PGA TOUR, Mr. Tim Finchem. (APPLAUSE).

COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: Thank you Ian. Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. I'd like to recognize this morning several people who are with us for this ceremony. We have a new presenting sponsor for THE TOUR Championship, the Dynegy Company, and we are delighted to have their executive vice-president and chief communication officer with us, Debbie Fioreto. (APPLAUSE). Each year -- we are delighted the years that we are here, delighted to come to Champions because of the great golf course, the great fans, but the founder, co-founder of this place is very special to golf and was last year recognized as a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame and we are delighted to of with us Jackie Burke. (APPLAUSE). Seated to Jackie's left is arguably the finest architect in golf today and we are delighted to have him as a special guest, Tom Fazio. (APPLAUSE). I'd also like to recognize the leadership of the Houston Golf Association and the members of the Houston Golf Association. There is no finer golf association in America. They do a fantastic job as our partner with Shell's Houston Open, and here at THE TOUR Championship presented by Dynegy to everyone involved the Houston golf association and some of their members who are up here, I thank you and we welcome you to the ceremony, as well. (APPLAUSE). Before I comment about the nature of today's presentation and award, I would like to make a couple of comments about a dear friend who we lost just days ago. It was no surprise that Earl Elliott, as his last request, suggested that any service recognizing his pasting be postponed until after this week, so as not to disrupt or take attention away from the Tour Championship that he cared for so much. Earl Elliott was the backbone of the Houston golf association. He was absolutely vital to the success that we have enjoyed with THE TOUR Championship in Houston. He was a lifelong centerpiece to the game of golf here. He was a fine gentleman, and I can't go on too much more without violating his request, but I do think that we should pause for a moment of silence to remember our dear friend Earl Elliott. (Moment of Silence.) Thank you. Ladies and gentlemen, this being here at Champions reminds all of us of the trauma of coming here two years ago, knowing that we had just lost Payne Stewart, and in a tragedy that we couldn't imagine. So when we determined, as a sport, to perpetuate his name and the creation of this award in his Honor, we thought it was fitting to do it each year at THE TOUR Championship the week that he left us. Since Payne has left -- and we said this two years ago -- it has left a hole in the PGA TOUR that, in my judgment, will never be filled. He was a unique individual. He had a unique professionalism and showmanship about him that you just don't replace. However, there are things that we can do, and your policy board approved the establishment of this award for two major reasons: One, so that each year we can reflect upon Payne's career and remember him for who he was and what he was, and his importance to the PGA TOUR and, also, to use the award to recognize an individual each year who reflects some of the special qualities that Payne embodied: Personal integrity, emphasis on professionalism, and a dedication to preparation, personal appearance, and comportment. In one of the last conversations I had with Payne, just weeks before THE TOUR Championship two years ago, he expressed concern that the way our society was changing, perhaps we, as a sport, would succumb and change with it in our attitude toward professionalism and integrity and presentation, and he wanted to figure out a way that the younger players coming into the PGA TOUR could be reminded of the players that went before them and how they had created the finest image in sports which serves as the foundation in our real strength today. And so, again, I think it is fitting that we use this award to recognize those qualities; to perpetuate an interest in our players and our fans and in the media about those unique qualities that PGA TOUR players possess. Last year we presented the inaugural award to three special gentlemen whose lives and careers have defined the word professionalism: Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Byron Nelson. Now, before we go farther with the actual presentation, I know Ian is going to introduce a very special gentleman, and let me comment about this gentleman and his company. Dave Altman is the vice-chairman of the Southern Company, but the Southern Company is committed to sponsoring the Payne Stewart Award Grant, a grant of $300,000 each year that's divided equally in payments to the Payne Stewart Family Foundation, to The First Tee facility of Camp Kanakuk, Missouri, in Payne's honor. And in case -- if you are wondering, Camp Kanakuk is a camp where Payne's kids went every summer dedicated to sports and the relationship between sports and life skills, and Payne's good friend Bobby Clampett, after Payne's passing, created an effort to build a First Tee facility at Camp Kanakuk in Payne's name. Third -- a third of this grant goes to a charity to be designated by today's award recipient. I will turn the program for a minute back over to Ian to introduce David.

IAN BAKER-FINCH: Thank you, Tim. Obviously, a major component of the Payne Stewart Award is a grant provided by the Southern Company, and to speak to you more about that's the vice-president of corporate communications of Southern Company, Mr. Dave Altman. (APPLAUSE).

DAVID ALTMAN: Thank you, Ian. Commissioner Finchem, thank you for the opportunity that Southern Company has to be a part of this great award. Let me also say a special thank you to the great people here at Champions and with the Houston Golf Association for everything that you do for this community. And, also, Debbie, congratulations to Dynegy in becoming a sponsor of this great event. We wish you and Dynegy great success in the years ahead. We are proud to be associated, for a lot of reasons, but I guess, as the commissioner said, the most important are the kind of values that this award symbolizes. We have a saying at Southern Company and have had, for 75 years or so, that we are citizens wherever we serve. And that includes being a good citizen. It also includes qualities like leadership, ethical behavior, teamwork, professionalism. Those are the qualities that this award is all about. We really salute the Tour for doing what it's doing and giving us a chance to honor Payne's memory in this way. Thank you. (APPLAUSE).

IAN BAKER-FINCH: Thank you, Mr. Altman. To announce the recipient of this year's Payne Stewart Award, I'd like to call back to the microphone Commissioner Finchem.

COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: It's my pleasure and honor to announce the winner of the 2001 Payne Stewart Award, a man who is universally respected and admired throughout the golfing world, whose professionalism and integrity remain uncompromised. This player has won 19 times on the PGA TOUR, has won two Masters. I think we will never forget his leadership in the greatest Ryder Cup comeback in the history of those matches, a man who exudes the qualities that we like to see in PGA TOUR players, and by exuding those qualities, he has meant so much to the nurturing of the image that we talk about as the strongest part of our game. Our winner this year is Mr. Ben Crenshaw. (APPLAUSE). Ben, before I give you this statue, I'd like to ask everyone to turn their attention to the video monitor for some commentary on Ben's career. (Video played.) (APPLAUSE). Ben, I know about your relationship with Payne, but this award is also about what you represent and your interest in the history of tradition of the game, and the way you communicate that interest is very, very special. You are also a Texan. Congratulations. (APPLAUSE)

BEN CRENSHAW: Thank you, Tim, ladies and gentlemen. Before I start talking about Payne, there is -- when you come to a golf tournament and see enthusiasm and you see a spirit of volunteerism, you see enthusiasm for about a week to begin like this, first of all, I want to say congratulations to all the players here this week. It's the best of the best, the top-30. It is a very, very clean system of how you arrive here and you are going to see some fabulous golf on a golf course that I love. I always have. Early in my career my father came right here and played in Champions Cup matches as an amateur. I was probably twelve years old, and a lot of friends from Austin would come down and watch this, and I got to see a real golf course when I was growing up right here. But two gentlemen that have been so kind to our family, and in particular, my father, but had a lot to do with my interest in the game, is sitting right over here, Jackie Burke. I've always thought that he was like an uncle to me. I have always confided in him, and I think you know what he represents. And I believe so strongly in what -- Jackie is like a philosopher. He knows a lot of things about a lot of different parts of life. I think we all respect him so much. The other fellow is Jimmy DeMerett. I remarked in my book that Jimmy loved to sing and he was such a great player. My mother loved to play the piano and Jimmy would sing and my mother would play the piano when they went out to West Texas at parties and things. But the things that -- what I want to say before I talk more about my friend is what golf represents. We have so much to think about in golf. We have something that has been around for 500 years. I think people know that it has a great spirit of tradition and a sense of fair play and etiquette and decorum. And I want to say something about today's players. I enjoy watching them so much. I am close to a lot of them. I enjoy watching their involvement. I enjoy watching their outward attitude of doing something they love, just as Payne did. And I will put up the PGA TOUR against any supporting organization and it's practitioners, against anybody, in the sense of ethics and fair play, in the sense of what is right, wrong in respect to the rules. I think that emanates to so many other things. I don't know there's a sport where -- you have heard it, it's a very tried observation -- that people call themselves on the rules. That's pretty rare. What that is is respect. It's a respect for other things, other than yourself. Golf is a game that you go through life, and you love to win some tournaments, but you respect your opponent and you gladly shake hands after their achievements. I think a long time ago we had many people who said we have had great leaders in the game, and we have. And the people like Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus and Byron Nelson an Ben Hogan and people -- and Bobby Jones, people who left a continuing philosophy of what makes our game what it is. But the spirit of involvement -- and I can't say that this particular site right here and what is going on this week is typical of what happens on the PGA TOUR, but you have wonderful people like Dynegy who believe in showcasing what we do. We have people here who love the game and people who watch it and follow it this week. You have wonderful practitioners. The idea that we go week-to-week to places and play and, in our best way, we hope that we leave something behind in a charitable venue, in a charitable contribution to every community. It's a sense of responsibility that has been the benchmark of the Tour for so many years. And I dare say that its involvement is meaningful to so many people of different walks of life and different maladies or what have you. Now, my friend -- Jackie told me before I got up here, he said, "Now, don't leave me standing in casual water over here because -- don't get emotional on me." And I said, "Jackie, I can't promise you," because when you talk about friends and when you talk about somebody who we cared about so much, as a competitor, and someone who was an individual. Payne Stewart was an individualist. He was a very proud man. And he was so proud in everything that he did. He had this beautiful wife, Tracey, and Aaron and Chelsey. He was taken from us too early. There's no doubt. And so many of us enjoyed being around him and had -- we watched him in his happiest year achieve things that were remarkable. The U.S. Open was his favorite tournament. He excelled at it, because he believed in America. He was from the heartland, Springfield Missouri, and if anybody had possessed solid American values, it was Payne Stewart. And I dare say that since September 11, if Payne Stewart was around, he would be extremely vocal about what is going on. Nobody believed in America more than he did. There were two things about the Ryder Cup week, and there was a million things that are a memory of a lifetime for all of us who were on that team. Payne wanted two things. He came to me, he said, "Look," he said, "we have got to have a ping-pong table." I said, "A ping-pong table?" He said, "Yeah, a ping-pong table." He said, "It will let us below off a little steam. It will give us a little competition. We can use it as a time to relax and have fun." We thought a minute, Julie, and I thought a minute. We said, "That's a good idea." He said, "There's one other thing, too." He said, "You are going to have to permit me to do this: Whenever we hit the deck in the morning to get dressed, I am going to be playing Bruce Springsteen's Born in the U.S.A. as loud as that thing can come up." I said, "Payne, you got it. You can do whatever you'd like." It was -- every morning we had to clean out our ears, but we got to be with him on the finest occasion, and when you all played the video here -- I was here the day -- a few days after we lost him, and I don't think that I have ever seen anything more poignant or, as Tom Lehman's words, he's such a strong individual, and went back to Florida and listened to Paul Azinger's words. Those two guys are about as strong as you can -- of individuals as you can possibly come up with. But it took all the strength they had to talk about their friend. I can tell you that the things that make him live on are the right things in golf. Any association that I have had with Payne Stewart's name makes me very, very happy, I can assure you, and he will always be with us in word, mind and spirit. I just saw Mike Hicks, his caddie, over there. They had such a special relationship because he had -- he was just personable. What I'd give to watch that elegant swing. What a beautiful golf swing, that drowsy grace and beauty, and it was proper. But I'd like to thank the Southern Company, another company that's so important to the PGA TOUR. They have done so many wonderful things for us in a helpful way to be associated with the game of golf and, also, to be with professional golf, we are very happy with their support. I hope you all have a great week. But I can't tell you how much this means to me, and I was so proud to join a list of certainly the recipients last year, but all the people who took the time in the decision to come up with my name, but I am extremely proud and humbled. Thank you. (APPLAUSE).

IAN BAKER-FINCH: Thanks very much, Ben. Well said. Thanks for being with us here today to commemorate and honor a very dear and great friend of ours, Payne Stewart, and to congratulate the most worthy champion and recipient of the 2001 award. We hope you enjoy the rest of your day and week here with us, and enjoy the rest of the Tour Championship presented by Dynegy. Maybe we can leave you with a little more of Payne Stewart and Ben Crenshaw on the jumbo screen while we are all getting set here. Thanks very much for joining us. (APPLAUSE).

End of FastScripts....

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