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November 3, 2004

Tim Finchem

Jay Haas

Judy Rankin

David Ratcliffe


JAMES CRAMER: Ladies and gentlemen, I'd like to thank you for coming out to today's Payne Stewart Award Presentation, and now if you could join me in welcoming from ABC Sports, our master of ceremonies, Ms. Judy Rankin (applause).

JUDY RANKIN: Hi, it's nice to see so many people here. Anyway, happy to see so many of you here today. This is, of course, the fifth annual Payne Stewart Awards Ceremony, and it has been my pleasure to do several of these, so it's a treat for me, and I'm happy to be here.

I first would like to acknowledge, say hello to, and I'm sure all of you would like to say hello to Tracy Stewart, who is here with us today (applause), and Chelsea and Aaron Stewart could not be here, but we say hello and send our best wishes (applause).

Also, we'd like to recognize the family of sponsors here who support this event, Coca-Cola, the presenting sponsor, the Southern Company, the sponsor of the Payne Stewart Award, and PriceWaterhouseCoopers, the sponsor of the PGA TOUR's Fall Finish (applause).

Thanks to all the fans for being here, thanks to all the young people for being here, thanks to all the volunteers for being here, and it is now my honor to introduce the commissioner of the PGA TOUR, Tim Finchem (applause).

TIM FINCHEM: Thank you, Judy, and good afternoon, everyone. Thanks for joining us. This is a special moment to remember for a few minutes, as we have never forgotten really, on the PGA TOUR, Payne Stewart. When Payne passed away during the week of the Tour Championship some years ago, we determined to remember him each year at the Tour Championship, and the policy board created this award, and we'll talk a little bit more about it in a few minutes.

I do want to thank for their hospitality this week, the East Lake Foundation, Tom Cousins, Billy Payne, our tournament chairman who is here, all the volunteers, Coca-Cola, the Southern Company, PriceWaterhouse, the sponsor of the Fall Finish, just a few minutes ago Dean Kern presented Vijay Singh the award for winning it, for making this such a special week. It is special to the PGA TOUR indeed.

We think it's very appropriate. The loss of Payne Stewart left a real hole in the PGA TOUR. We knew that that tragic week when we lost him. We knew how much we were going to miss him on the PGA TOUR. It has come to pass. Let's take just a minute to refresh our memories about the legacy of a great champion. (Video clip shown.)

TIM FINCHEM: The PGA TOUR Policy Board created the Payne Stewart Award for two reasons, one of which was to remember Payne, and the other was to really recognize a player each year who was very special, and let me read you the actual words that were used in defining this award. "The Payne Stewart Award was created to recognize an individual each year who reflects the special qualities Payne embodied; personal integrity, emphasis on professionalism, and a dedication to preparation, personal appearance and comportment."

We have an industry-wide panel each year that makes recommendations of individuals that this panel believes are worthy of this award and we'll announce the winner shortly, but in addition to this statue that's presented each year, the Payne Stewart Award also carries with it a very generous grant presented by the Southern Company. It is in the amount of $300,000, and it's distributed as follows: $100,000 to the Payne Stewart Family Foundation, $100,000 in Payne's honor and memory to the First Tee facility at his camp, Camp Kanakuk in Missouri, and $100,000 to a charity designated by the award recipient.

I'd like to introduce at this time the chairman and CEO of the Southern Company, Mr. David Ratcliffe. David? (Applause).

DAVID RATCLIFFE: Thank you very much, Tim. Let me say at the beginning that as the new guy on the block in this role, I'm particularly proud of our association with the PGA and all it stands for. When it comes to professionalism and superior performance and excellence, there's no better organization that we could be associated with than the PGA.

I'm also particularly proud of the fact that we chose to sponsor the Payne Stewart Award because a couple of the things that we talk a lot about in the Southern Company are the concepts of superior performance and total commitment, but when you think of Payne Stewart, superior performance is obvious in his golf game and total commitment is obvious in his lifestyle and the way he lived and what he left as a legacy for not just the golfing world but the entire world.

I'm proud that we're associated with that. I'm proud because it gives us a chance to give back to the community something that I know Payne Stewart felt strongly about, as evidenced by how we distribute this money, so we're particularly proud to be here, we're proud to be associated with this. Let us be, on behalf of the Southern Company customers and employees, first to congratulate this year's winner. Tim, thank you very much. (Applause).

TIM FINCHEM: This year's recipient of this award does embody the various qualities that we talked about that remind us of Payne. Competitively, this is a player that's won nine times on the PGA TOUR, he's played in three Ryder Cups, two Presidents Cups. He played three times on the Champions Tour this year, finishing 2nd or 3rd every time. He's 29th on the Money List at the age of 50, and we're delighted that the committee has chosen Jay Haas as our recipient this year (applause).

Jay, before we begin the honors, I'd like to show a brief video about your career. (Video clip shown.)

TIM FINCHEM: Jay, when we created this award, it was right after, of course, Payne passed away, and at the Ryder Cup in Boston in 1999, one of the last times I talked to Payne, he talked about his concern for making sure that the younger players that were coming up paid attention to preparation and professionalism and handling themselves around the golf course.

So one of the things we've done is in recognizing players like Jay, we make it a point to communicate what they think about the Payne Stewart Award and what the Payne Stewart Award means to our younger players, rookies, Nationwide Tour players as they come up, and thinking about that, there is no more fitting recipient than Jay Haas because in addition to everything we've just heard about him, we know by example what kind of example he is because he has two boys that are now professionals; Bill Haas, and his son Jay, Jr., who is with us, sitting with Jay's wife Jan here, and the way they conduct themselves tell us an awful lot about how using Jay as an example through this award will be a good thing.

Jay, Jack Nicklaus, Byron Nelson, Arnold Palmer, Ben Crenshaw, Nick Price, Tom Watson, and now Jay Haas, the 2004 winner of the Payne Stewart Award. Congratulations (applause).

JAY HAAS: Thank you, Tim. Can we go back to that video where I had a lot of hair (laughter)? I saw Jan laughing at that one.

Thank you all for being here today. This is awfully special. It's been a dream come true for me to be a professional golfer. It is something for as long as I can remember that it's what I wanted to do. But I discovered early on that it was more than just about playing golf. It was more than just shooting good scores.

Golf at its highest level is not just winning checks and going from tournament to tournament; it's more than just a game itself; it's about respect and character and integrity and the things that Nick Price was talking about in that video.

It's a privilege for me to compete. Excuse my yardage book here. I was taught at an early age that how I carried myself on and off the course was of equal importance. I've had so many idols and role models in my career that basically started with my dad. My uncle Bob Goalby taught me the game, but it was my dad who took me to play on his weekends off and spent time with me, and it was funny that he was not concerned when I was playing how I played but how I acted and conducted myself on the golf course.

There were two things that -- he drilled so many things into my head, but two things I can remember were "let your clubs do the talking." He was not into big egos at all. And "it doesn't cost a nickel to be nice to people." Those are things that I still remember today. I still remember him saying those things.

Once I was fortunate enough to make it on TOUR, there were so many people out here for me to try to emulate, to look up to, men that came before me, Byron Nelson, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Ben Crenshaw, Tom Watson, all gentlemen and true professionals. Just as yesterday, there are so many players out here today who are their equals on and off the golf course, and that's why I consider myself so very lucky to be chosen for this award.

The first time I played with Payne, it was at the LaJet Classic. There's probably not too many of us that know or remember the LaJet Classic. It was in Abilene, Texas, and we were both young. It was in the early '80s probably, both trying to make it on Tour, struggling, trying to make a name for ourselves, and we came to the last hole, it was a tough par 5, and Payne had driven behind or under the little tree there, and in Abilene it was a new golf course, and all the trees were small and had little spindly limbs on them, and we were playing pretty well. We were going to make a decent check, probably about $2,000, which was a decent check back then (laughter).

He was taking practice swing after practice swing trying to hit this shot, trying to figure this shot out, trying to get something down the fairway so he could knock it on the green in his third shot, and as you saw in that video he had such a long, syrupy swing that it just wasn't working, and he got it caught up on his attempt to swing and whiffed right over the top of the ball, and immediately he screams out, "strike one!" Well, I started laughing. I couldn't believe that somebody in the heat of competition could be that way, but that was just Payne.

Two things struck me about Payne right there; number one, how competitive he was, how driven he was and how he was just trying to save that shot, how he was trying to do everything in his power to succeed; the second thing I think was how natural he was. That was just Payne. He was just being himself.

That to me is the embodiment of this award, just how great he was with Payne just being himself. He was the best at doing that.

Tracy, I want to thank you for being here today. It was great to see you and Chelsea last night. I can't tell you how humbled and blessed I am to be standing here. I don't know, I'm at a loss.

I hope to follow in the footsteps of these gentlemen on this list, on this trophy, and I hope to be someone who some of the young guys of today can come to for guidance, somebody like Arnold Palmer who I looked up to, Jack Nicklaus, who I've always thought how would Jack handle this situation, how would Arnold handle this situation, and I think that means the most to me, I guess.

I want to thank the PGA TOUR for giving me the opportunity to play golf, to run an unbelievable organization, to the Southern Company, David Ratcliffe, thank you so much for your sponsorship, and lastly, I want to thank my wife Jan and Jay, Jr., for being here today and the rest of my family for letting me follow my dream. This is a day I'll never forget. Thank you very much (applause).

JUDY RANKIN: Well, congratulations, Jay, congratulations, Jan, and I'll consider it my job to say there are also three girls in that family, and it is a wonderful family. I was privileged to see them in action when Bill played in the Walker Cup matches, and I just don't know if I've ever seen a family have a better time for a week or two, watching one of theirs play golf, and I guess all of them playing golf together, but you hear the testament from players as to the respect that Jay Haas has of all the players, and that is certainly true. I am fortunate to be friends with a couple of very good friends of his, and he is really loved by his friends and by all these players, and when you're in a competitive setting all the time and people can say that about you, that's terrific. (Applause).

I think now we need Tim Finchem and David Ratcliffe, and Jay, if you'll come back, we're going to unveil a portrait over here. (Portrait unveiled.) (Applause).

JAY HAAS: You'll never know if it went in or not, right (laughter)?

JUDY RANKIN: I can also tell you that in my humble little job in television, one thing that Payne Stewart and Jay Haas certainly shared was the fact that they both always did, always seemed to have the time to put up with us when it's not always what they would not most like to do, but Jay Haas has been a wonderful person to work with and work around, and Payne Stewart was exactly the same way.

So that concludes our program for today. I'd like to thank all of you for coming, and we really look forward to you spending the week here and watching the best players in the world at this TOUR Championship presented by Coca-Cola. Thank you very much, and congratulations.

End of FastScripts.

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