In recognition of his philanthropic endeavors, his commitment to growing the game, his professionalism and the distinguished manner in which he embraces the values of golf, Stewart Cink has been named as the 2017 Payne Stewart Award recipient presented by Southern Company. Cink, who lives in the Atlanta area and is a graduate of Georgia Tech was honored September 19th at a ceremony in conjunction with the TOUR Championship, which was televised by Golf Channel.
The Payne Stewart Award is presented annually to a professional golfer who best exemplifies Payne’s steadfast values of character, charity and sportsmanship. Payne died tragically the week of the TOUR Championship in 1999. Southern Company, the “Official Energy Company of the PGA TOUR and Champions TOUR,” was the sponsor the year of Stewart’s passing. A year later, the TOUR created the Payne Stewart Award in his honor and Southern Company has supported the annual presentation since its inception.
“To receive the Payne Stewart Award is one of the greatest honors of my career,” said Cink. “Payne was a player and person whom I greatly admired, both on and off the course. His character, his infectious spirit and his dedication to growing the game were all traits that I have aspired to emulate. I am thankful the PGA TOUR and Southern Company have found a way to honor and remember Payne’s legacy through this award.”
“Stewart Cink epitomizes the ideals around which the Payne Stewart Award is built-character, charity and sportsmanship,” said TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan. “It is fitting that we present this honor to him during the TOUR Championship at East Lake Golf Club. Not only is Stewart a member here, but he also passionately supports the East Lake Foundation, which has done incredible work in the community.”
Cink joined the PGA TOUR in 1997 after graduating from Georgia Tech. Originally from Florence, Alabama, Stewart decided to stay in the Atlanta area after graduation with his wife and two sons, Conner and Reagan. When his wife Lisa dug in for her fight against breast cancer, Stewart was a pillar of strength and provided an admirable sense of perspective. He had done similarly a few years earlier when he won the 2009 Open Championship at Turnberry even as many were cheering on the sentimental favorite, Tom Watson. Stewart just smiled. He understood. In every sense of the words, he showed character and great sportsmanship. Stewart is truly a class act. I had the good fortune to play with him at Reunion Resort after his Open win, and then go to dinner in Orlando where he brought his Claret Jug with him.
“Atlanta owes a great deal of gratitude to the dedication and philanthropy of Stewart Cink,” said Southern Company Chairman,CEO & President Tom Fanning. “Already famous for his on-course accomplishments, his commitment to work on behalf of those in the community where he lives and serves will forever be celebrated. My making a lasting impact within his community, he has shaped a remarkable tribute to Payne Stewart’s legacy of service.”
In addition to the Bob Pack sculpture of Payne Stewart, the Award is accompanied by an annual Grant made possible by Southern Company. The $500,000 grant is distributed as folliows: $100,000 to Payne and Tracey Stewart’s primary charity- The Stewart Family Foundation; $100,000 to the First Tee of the Ozarks located in Missouri at Kids Across America; $300,000 to a charity designated by the recipient. Cink has chosen the Cink Charities, Inc.
Cink Charities support the East Lake Foundation, the main charity of the TOUR Championship, and the Drew Charter School Senior Academy in East Lake. Stewart and Lisa created the Cink It Challenge, which supports the Pregnancy Resource Center of Gwinnett and Gwinnett Medical Center Newborn Intensive Care Unit.
eSouthernGOLF.com wants to congratulate Stewart Cink, a very worthy recipient of the 20th Payne Stewart Award.