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.