Thursday, June 16, 2005

remembering payne

Is it just me or do 4 blow out games in a row make the NBA Finals even less appealing than the Spurs/Pistons match up already has made it? Maybe at least those in Motown and near the Alamo are enjoying the games. Listening to ESPN radio this morning, Paul Azinger, now commentating instead of playing, believes par or even 1 over might win the Open this year. Based on the results from the first round, he may very well be right as the course always gets harder over the weekend.

I remember watching the last Open at Pinehurst 6 years ago as Payne Stewart and Phil Mickelson battled down the stretch for the title. I remember thinking that I liked them both and wasnt sure who I wanted to win. Part of me wanted Phil to break out of his "best player to never win a major" shackles and part of me was rooting for Stewart being a hometown guy who played at SMU. Then there was the drama of Phil's wife being pregnant and due any day, whether he was going to have to leave if she went into labor while they played the final Sunday on Father's Day. Stewart then made the longest putt to ever win the Open on the 72nd and last hole as he posed in his now immortalized stance watching it drop in the cup. As Phil and Payne hugged/congratulated each other, Payne told him his day was coming and to go be with his wife and share in the miracle of having their child. The Mickelson's had their baby on Monday, when the 18-hole playoff would have been had Payne's putt not dropped. Payne Stewart died only four months later when the pressurization system in his private plane malfunctioned, taking him from us way too soon and in the prime of his career. As those that knew Payne Stewart, he had recently become a Christian within the last year before his death and had discovered a new peace on the golf course and in life, developing a stronger family life. This year's Open at Pinehurst wont match that one six years ago, but its good to just remember what Payne Stewart brought to the game of golf.

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