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November 2, 2005

Brad Faxon

Tim Finchem

Jay Haas

Judy Rankin

David Ratcliffe

East Lake Golf Club, Atlanta, Georgia

JAMES CRAMER: Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome your emcee for today's program. She's won 28 titles during her LPGA career, she is a past captain of U.S. Solheim Cup teams and a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame. You also know her as a commentator for ABC's golf coverage. Please join me in welcoming Ms. Judy Rankin.

JUDY RANKIN: Well, hello on such a pretty afternoon, and good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the sixth presentation of the Payne Stewart Award.

Before we welcome our participants to the stage, could we all give a warm round of applause to the Spivey Hall Tour Choir. They were pretty terrific. The Tour Choir represents 50 voices of the 100 voice Spivey Hall Choir at Clayton College and Clayton University's Spivey Hall and we'll be hearing from them again at the conclusion.

Now it's my pleasure to welcome to the stage Commissioner of the PGA TOUR, Tim Finchem (applause). And accompanying the Commissioner, David Ratcliffe, the chief executive officer of the Southern Company; Chuck Fruit, the chief representative and chief marketing officer for Coca Cola; Jay Haas, the 2004 recipient of the Payne Stewart Award; and we're very fortunate to have with us Chelsea Stewart, Payne Stewart's daughter (applause).

If we could acknowledge a few individuals in the audience, Leonard Haynes, president and chief marketing officer at Southern Company, Tom Cousins, the chairman of East Lake Golf Club, Rob Johnston, the general chairman of the 2005 TOUR Championship presented by Coca Cola, Holly Finchem, the Commissioner's wife, and Jan who is the wife of last year's recipient, Jay Haas (applause).

Mark Perry, the director of the Payne Stewart Memorial, one of the beneficiaries of the company grants.

Ladies and gentlemen, it says a lot about the legacy of Payne Stewart that we gather each year at this time to honor his contributions to the game. As many of you know, the Payne Stewart Award was created by the PGA TOUR policy board in 2000 to perpetuate Payne's memory. He was an 11 time winner on the PGA TOUR, including three major championships. This award is presented annually to a player sharing Payne's respect for the traditions of the game, his commitment to uphold the game's heritage of charitable support, and his professional and meticulous presentation of himself and the sport through his dress and his conduct. And today another player's name will be added to the honor roll of champions to have received this award.

It is my pleasure now to introduce to you Commissioner Tim Finchem.

COMM. TIM FINCHEM: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. What a great day it is, spectacular day here at East Lake, and we're delighted to be back here again this year. I do want to Judy I know recognized a lot of folks. I do want to thank a few people. First of all, Chuck Fruit and his entire team for the energy that Coca Cola has put into making the TOUR Championship very special. Everybody at Southern Company, David Ratcliffe and his executive staff for stepping up six years ago to do something really special with the recognition that we provide a player each year in the name of Payne Stewart, both with respect to the resources they have provided to communicating what the award was all about and also the special grants that go along with this award.

I'd like to thank Jay Haas, last year's most deserving recipient, for being with us today, and Jay, congratulations on a great season.

Chelsea, we're delighted that you took a little time off of your studies at Clemson, although Chelsea tells me that her studies this week include preparing a float for the homecoming prayed this weekend. She's got to hustle back. But we're delighted that you were here. Your dad was so important to the game of golf and to the PGA TOUR. We're just so pleased you could be here to represent your family. And to Tom Cousins and everybody involved at the East Lake Foundation, we couldn't be more pleased with our partnership and what this championship has become and is becoming year after year. Tom, thanks so much for your hospitality and all the commitment that's gone into hosting this here each year (applause).

At this time of the year, as we conclude the TOUR Championship, there are a lot of awards presented in the game of golf and for special recognition of performance during the course of the year. We have the Arnold Palmer Award for the leading money winner, we have the Jack Nicklaus Award that's presented to the Player of the Year and the Byron Nelson Award for our lowest scoring average and all those things, but the Payne Stewart Award is unique. It's something different. It's not so much about low scores as much as it is about sportsmanship and integrity.

Those who have received the award over the years are voted to have committed themselves to their careers on the PGA TOUR to professionalism, they're those who have shown the best comportment in the way they've handled themselves as part of the game, their demeanor, their words and their actions inside the ropes and outside the ropes. They're individuals who accept the fact that when you play on the PGA TOUR, you are a role model, and they accept the responsibility that goes with being a role model, and I think in each case, they are individuals who have worked to further the traditions of what the PGA TOUR is all about as part of the game of golf.

One of the last conversations I had with Payne Stewart was at the Ryder Cup a few months before his passing, actually just a few weeks, and in that conversation he talked to me about his concern for the future of the game and whether we were doing enough to use the way our veteran players handle themselves to instill in our younger players the understanding of what is important about the game and what needs to be perpetuated for those that follow. That is what continuing of the traditions of the game is all about. Today we're going to recognize a special player, and I would have to say that he is more than qualified to join the ranks of those who have been recognized and have gone before him, and I would like now to announce that the winner of the 2005 Payne Stewart Award is Brad Faxon, and we would like Brad to come forward (applause).

We're delighted to welcome Brad and his wife Dory. We'll be back a little bit later to actually give Brad the Payne Stewart trophy, but before we do, we put together a video which we think captures the essence of what the Payne Stewart Award is all about.

(Video shown.)

JUDY RANKIN: I was fortunate to be here last year when our next speaker received the 2004 award. He is a nine time winner on the PGA TOUR. He just recently added two Champions Tour victories to his resume. Please welcome Jay Haas.

JAY HAAS: Thank you, Judy. David, I'd like to thank you and the Southern Company for all you've done for this award and the people of Greenville, South Carolina, really appreciate everything that went along with this award last year. It doesn't seem like it's been a year already that I was up here, but I just remember being overwhelmed by receiving this Payne Stewart Award, to be included in such a group is something that I will never forget. It's exciting for my wife Jan and I to be here again this year to relive that moment.

There are many people who are worthy or qualified for this award, a long list to choose from, but only one gets the honor in 2005, and at the top of that list is Brad Faxon.

As you saw in the film, Brad represents all the criteria of the Payne Stewart Award. His charity work is well documented, as well as his integrity and sportsmanship. His presentation is impeccable, always has his shirts ironed (laughter), as is his conduct on and off the golf course. But the word that comes to mind when I think of Brad is "consistent." He's always up. He's always positive with people. It seems he never has a bad day. You always feel better after you've had a talk with Brad.

He never needs to meet a stranger. We call Brad "The Mayor." He's always winning votes out there. And he has such great energy. I always tease him that I know he's upset when he has to go to sleep at night (laughter). But Brad, Dory, congratulations. It's an honor for me to be here today and an honor to be your friend. Thank you all for coming (applause).

JUDY RANKIN: The Payne Stewart Award is supportive of a $300,000 charitable grant from the Southern Company. The grant is divided evenly between the Stuart Family Foundation, the new first tee foundation in Payne's honor in Keokuk, Missouri, that's where I learned to play golf, and the charity of the recipient's choice. Please welcome David Ratcliffe.

DAVID RATCLIFFE: Thank you. It's an honor for me to have the opportunity to represent Southern Company. I want to take just a moment and acknowledge the guy in the audience who was a predecessor of mine in 2000 who inaugurated the Payne Stewart Award, and that's Bill Daubering. I high fived him as he came in (applause). It was his foresight that along with some other folks decided to inaugurate this Payne Stewart Award, and it's something that we are extremely proud of because it represents our opportunity to acknowledge professionalism and expertise and something that we stand for in the Southern Company, also. We believe that wherever we operate, we opt to make the communities better in which we operate by being there. Our association with the Tour has been exactly the same thing, because the Tour stands for that same commitment. In fact, I hope most of you recognized yesterday that Commissioner Finchem informed all of us that the Tour was announcing its achievement of having given back a billion dollars to the communities in which they operate. That's a huge, very, very valuable commitment (applause). I congratulate him, and I'm really excited because he also announced his other commitment to do another billion in the next ten years. That's fantastic (applause).

Southern Company operates by something we call "southern style," and it has three basic tenets to it, unquestionable trust, superior performance and total commitment. There's no better evidence of that kind of commitment than what we see exemplified in the PGA TOUR professionals. I'm particularly proud to have the honor to recognize Brad Faxon and to congratulate he and Dory on receiving this honor. Brad, there's no greater honor than being recognized for leadership and professionalism by your friends. Congratulations to both of you (applause).

COMM. TIM FINCHEM: And now if I could do the honors, I think, Brad, everybody knows what a great partner Brad is, and those who are around him know how up he is. As Jay said, a lot of folks don't know Brad's time commitment to what he's done for the PGA TOUR over the years, served on our board twice, served on the PAC a number of times, Player Advisory Council. He has been an inspiration to those who worry with the Tour about the need to educate our younger players about passing on the traditions of the game.

One of the things we've done, and I don't want to put too much pressure on Brad because he's got to come up here and talk, but one of the things we've done over the years and want to do again is we take the comments that these great recipients make and we show them to our rookies every year in the context of getting them to focus on what's important about playing on the PGA TOUR, and Brad, who is one of the most positive individuals you'd ever want to be around, he still can be critical of folks, and this gives him an opportunity to use the reception of this award to assist us in carrying on the traditions that he thinks are so important, as do all of our players.

Brad, if you would come up, I just want to say that the image of our sport, the image of our athletes in PGA TOUR golf is the finest among athletes, period, in the minds of the public, and nobody, Brad, represents what's important to that image more than you do. Congratulations (applause).

BRAD FAXON: I'd be more critical if I fell in the Bermuda grass downslope after wiping out a few years ago (laughter). Thank you very much. This is fantastic. It's a complete honor to be here. I want to tell you, I was at home four weeks ago after having surgery on my right leg, on my anterior cruciate, and I got a phone call from Tim. Getting phone calls when you're on the policy board from Tim isn't unusual, but when you start exchanging pleasantries like "how you doing," "how's it going," and there has to be a purpose for the call. He asked me about the Payne Stewart Award, "you are familiar with the Payne Stewart Award, aren't you, Brad?" "Of course I am, Tim, I was on the board when the idea was conceived." I thought he was going to ask me who the candidates might be. I don't know if you remember this or not, but you asked me if I wanted to accept the award. And I thought, "is he kidding with me?" I got chills because I don't think there can be a greater honor, like Jay said before, for any golfer, what they can do off the golf course and an award they can get that's not a competitive award, although this certainly has some competitiveness to it.

There's no way any player can have anything bestowed on them better than what your dad leads us all on still today, to try to represent the Tour the way he did.

David, when you mentioned the selection process being the former recipients, Byron Nelson, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, the legends of the game, well, after the Buick Championship, I got a couple letters from some people, two handwritten letters I received were from Byron Nelson and from Arnold Palmer, and I think in today's day and age of emails, it's very hard to sit down and write a letter. It just shows how involved these two guys still are involved in the game, that they could sit and write a letter to a player. It's impressive.

When I was a kid at Rhode Island Country Club, I used to pretend that I was putting against Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson and Ben Crenshaw on the putting green at Rhode Island Country Club. I didn't beat them a lot, I beat them once in a while (laughter). They'd show all the putts you made on these videos because they don't always go in. Since I've been on the Tour, since 1983, I've known Jay and Nick Price as well as I've known any players on the Tour, and when people ask me, and I get this all the time, who are the two nicest guys on the Tour, it's a battle between Jay and Nick, and to have them come up here, have Jan come down here, I stay at Jan's house every year, they're very nice. So it's a great honor.

I want to tell you a little bit about growing up in Rhode Island. It's not a likely place for a PGA TOUR player, but I had some great parents. I was very lucky. My dad is here in the audience with his wife, and my mom is right there. They were golfers that kind of introduced me to the game at a young age, and they never pushed me to play but they thought that was a good place to hang out. There wasn't a lot of trouble you were going to get in if you were playing 36 holes in a day. I still believe that.

I got lucky when I was 12 years old and I had a buddy of mine come by one day and say, hey, let's go to Rhode Island Country Club. We've got a job where we can caddie and make a lot of money. Sounds good to me. When you're 12 years old, 13 years old, a couple bucks will help anybody. So we rode our bikes up to Rhode Island Country Club a couple miles and we sat in this group of 30 wannabe caddies, and I hung around all day long. Finally about 4:00 o'clock the head pro at Rhode Island Country Club Freddie Bruno came by and he said, "you're going to have to shag some balls for Mr. Anderson down on the range. Get your helmet." Beautiful (laughter).

I went and chased this guy's golf balls all around. He was getting a lesson and everybody knows when you're getting a lesson the balls don't go straight. I got a dollar and a quarter, and I was thrilled. I was tired and hungry, and I saw the Coke machine and got a Coke and had a pack of crackers and that cost 50 cents. So I went home, and my mom said, "how did your first day go?" "Gee, I made 75 cents." That was my first introduction to golf on a professional level. It's gotten better since then, since that Finchem guy came around. I was thrilled with that.

But at Rhode Island Country Club, I was hanging around people that were successful. I worked in the locker room, I worked as a caddie for four or five years, and there were members that treated each other with respect, they treated each other with dignity, and you learned I think the rules of life, and those rules went a long way. Certainly we learned the etiquette of the game and what it's like to play the game of golf, and these things, I can't think of a better place to grow up at a club when you're around successful people and individuals that I'll remember for the rest of my life, a guy named Brad Boss who is the chairman of AT Cross. He kind of took my hand a lot of places and introduced me to people and taught me how to look somebody in the eye. My father taught me how to give somebody a firm handshake. Those are the values we need to instill in today's youth and the children of today, and I think the job of the recipients of this award, and I think what Payne showed us is to keep that tradition going because there's not a better sports organization in the world. The athletes that we have get in the newspaper for the right things; not for the wrong things (applause).

There's a bunch of people that are here that I want to thank, and bear with me, please, but David, the Southern Company, to go ahead and work with the Stewart family and this award is a thrill of a lifetime, but to be able to give away $200,000 to the Stewart Family Foundation, to Keokuk, the First Tee there, and then to help us out is terrific. This money will be put to great use, and I can't say how much this means.

I know you have a relationship with Billy Andrade. He's a Rhode Island guy, and Billy and I have been together for years and years, and we have a foundation back home, we have a tournament that we've run for years that's been wildly successful, a couple of the crazy guys on our board, they flew down this morning, but it's been unbelievable. We've given almost $6 million away. We've helped a lot of needy kids in Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts (applause). I'm sure some of this money will go to help a lot of the kids back in Rhode Island.

I would be remiss if I didn't thank my sponsors that are here. I know Wally Uihlein and Peter Bloome are here from Titleist. I've been with them for 23 years. You talk about loyalty. It's a big part of what we all know to be a great value. Wally was a mentor to me growing up. I caddied for him and I played with him, and he's one of the biggest and what I feel is the best company in the world.

Fidelity Investments, I've been wearing that on my chest for the last six years, Bill Lanning and his crew here, great company, great organization. The chairman of CVS Pharmacy played with Tiger Woods yesterday, and he said "I've never had anything like this before." But great Rhode Island companies, great companies, and I thank you because I feel like this award, although it's given to me and to Dory, it's about everybody. It's about the friends that we have, that we make from when we were growing up and we get out on the Tour. I know a few players, Ben Crane was here earlier, and he's a guy that will win this award some day. It's a great thrill, and there's no place better than being on the PGA TOUR.

I do want to say that my wife Dory here, of all the things we've talked about, is probably the most loyal person I've ever met in my life. She's giving, she's caring, she's president of the Tour Wives Association, which is not an easy task, but I know when I look at her on the side lines when I'm in the rough and I hit it near her a lot (laughter), she's trying harder than I am, and when I make a bogey, she makes a bogey. I'm glad you're here, honey, I love you.

Actually on one of our first dates we started going out in '99 I hate to say it but one of our first dates was at your dad's service, and it was one of the most moving events I've ever been to in my life. I'll never forget everything about your dad. I lived in Orlando when I first got out on the Tour. I remember you, the 12th hole at Bay Hill, you were about this big and cute as a button, as you are now. I think you could have gone to Furman instead of Clemson and bettered your life (laughter). But I've got a great story about Payne. I used to practice at the golf course in Orlando called Grand Cypress, and they were great. They let the Tour players come out there. I was new, I was 22, 23, and I loved to go to the range, the back of the range especially. They had great balls for us to practice with, and we could go by there and nobody would bother us. I remember driving out on a cart and looking at this guy swinging and hitting balls, and I said that guy has got a nice swing. I got closer and I said, "That's Payne." Payne didn't wear his nickers to practice. He had on a pair of khakis if it wasn't a tournament day. It was hard to recognize him if he didn't have his hat on. The one thing you never forgot was that swing and that tempo, and I think he changed the beat of the music; the tempo didn't change his swing. It was perfect to watch.

Payne was amazing because we would play and go out and play matches for fun because we weren't allowed to gamble (laughter), but we always played matches, and I beat him my share of times and he'd beat me, but when it came to playing in the U.S. Open or a PGA, something happened. He knew how to turn it up a notch. He had that ability that I think is tremendous to watch, how guys can gut it out, and he could always gut it out. Nobody is ever going to forget that, the final day at Pinehurst when he won the Open, and the spirit that he gave is still alive today. If you ever questioned your faith, if you were there in Orlando during his service, you knew God was talking to you, and everybody's faith had to grow stronger there. I'll never forget it, and I know he lives on with us to this day. He was a great guy.

I told you earlier I played with Aaron, Chelsea's younger brother. This year at Bay Hill he came out to watch a practice round, Peter Jacobson was in the group. He's the spitting image of Aaron, and we played the 9th and the 10th holes he's not at Clemson, is he (laughter)? He's going to be a great player. He's a great kid.

You know, I guess I want to give you a message, and Tim, if this is the critical part, here it comes: This is like winning a major off the golf course, to win this award. It's something you're not doing with your golf clubs alone. It's the way you carry yourself, the way that the guys that have won this award before have kept the traditions of the game going. But if you're an individual on the Tour and you know about this award, I think this is something that you should strive to win.

When I first heard about the Payne Stewart Award, I thought in the back of my mind, that would be a great thing to win some day. But I would urge now all the young players that this is an award that's as important as trying to win a major. You don't think about it maybe as a kid growing up that you want to win the Payne Stewart Award. But after you've been out here and you see what the PGA TOUR is all about, you've reached a billion dollars in charitable giving, we're on our way to $2 billion as you heard. This is my finest hour, this is unbelievable. I can't say how thankful I am and how humbled this award makes me and I hope that every young guy on the PGA TOUR tries to win the Payne Stewart Award. We'll be better off.

Thank you very much (applause).

JUDY RANKIN: Let me add my own congratulations, Brad, and on a personal note, I tried to think of something I knew about Brad that maybe everyone didn't know, and I'm betting everyone here doesn't know the story, but in my book it was one of the feel good stories of the '05 season.

Brad was not qualified for the British Open this year, nor was he able to qualify here in the U.S., he was not able to go to that qualifier. He made the decision to go over to Scotland and try to qualify at one of their local courses, and that qualifying is a big event prior to the British Open. What golf course you might draw is kind of like a box of chocolates. You might get one of the great grand golf courses and you might get one that's in the Open and you might get one where you say, "this is why golf started?" Brad played at London Links, 36 hole qualifier, there were three spots, and he earned one of those spots, and he played at the British Open and he was the toast of the gallery. I can tell you that I am among the people at big major championships like that, and he was so embraced by the people in Britain, I think without knowing he did it, it was a huge PR gift to America. He was definitely the second most popular American there, right after Jack Nicklaus.

Anyway, thanks to all of you for joining us today. Congratulations again to Brad Faxon, the '05 Payne Stewart Award winner, and if you would remain just a few moments, this wonderful choir, the Spivey Hall Tour Choir is going to present "America the Beautiful." Thank you very much. Hope to see you again (applause).

End of FastScripts.

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