Stewart Cink, a six-time PGA Tour winner and 2009 Open champion, has been named recipient of the 2017 Payne Stewart Award in recognition of his charity, character and sportsmanship. Cink will be honored Sept. 19, in a televised ceremony on Golf Channel prior to the Tour Championship.
Cink joined the PGA Tour in 1997, two years before Stewart, a three-time major champion and World Golf Hall of Famer, passed away in a tragic plane accident. Stewart’s spirit lives on through the award, something that is not lost on Cink.
“To receive the Payne Stewart Award is one of the greatest honors of my career,” Cink said. “Payne Stewart was a player and person whom I admired greatly, both on and off the course. His character, his infectious spirit and his dedication to growing the game were all traits that I have always aspired to emulate.”
While Cink, 44, has struggled on the course in recent years, his popularity with fellow players never has wavered. His wife, Lisa, has received an outpouring of support during her ongoing battle with breast cancer as her husband has played when she has felt well enough for him to leave. Cink is well known for his charitable contributions to the game, particularly with the East Lake Foundation, an education-focused organization in Atlanta. Stewart and Lisa Cink also have created the “Cink It Challenge” to benefit the Pregnancy Resource Center of Gwinnett and Gwinnett Medical Center Newborn Intensive Care Unit.
“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,” PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan said. “He had done similarly a few years earlier when he won the Open Championship, even as many were cheering on the sentimental favorite, Tom Watson. Stewart smiled. He understood. In every sense of the words he showed character and sportsmanship.”
With the award, a $500,000 grant will be given to support several initiatives. Of that money, $100,000 will go to the Stewart Family Foundation, $100,000 to The First Tee of the Ozarks located in Missouri at Kids Across America, and $300,000 to Cink Charities Inc.