The putt only covered 15 feet, but it seemed more like 100 to the gallery gathered at the eighteenth hole at Pinehurst No. 2 on that early Sunday evening in June 1999. It traveled uphill, broke ever so slightly to the right…and slipped gently into the cup.
Payne Stewart, wearing his trademark knickers and argyle socks, hoisted the ball up to the heavens. The crowd roared. And for the second time in his career, Stewart was crowned champion of the U.S. Open–the most prestigious event for American golfers. The victory would be his last on the PGA Tour.
Four months later, on October 25, 1999, Payne Stewart entered the gates of heaven after his private jet plowed into a dirt field in Minot, South Dakota, taking the lives of Stewart and three business associates. His death at only 42 years old shook the golf world and the entire nation…