Two-time major winner honoured for his “character, sportsmanship and dedication to charitable giving”
Last Updated: 12/08/20 1:49pm
Zach Johnson has been named as this year’s winner of the PGA Tour’s Payne Stewart Award.
The PGA Tour says Johnson deserves the award due to his “character, sportsmanship and dedication to charitable giving”. He will receive the honour next month.
The award is handed out annually in honour of Payne Stewart, a three-time major winner who died in a place crash at the age of 42 in 1999.
The PGA Tour presents the award “to a professional golfer who best exemplifies Stewart’s steadfast values of character, charity and sportsmanship.”
It added: “Past winners have all distinguished themselves through their respect for the game, the Tour’s tradition of charity and their ability to make a positive impact in the lives of others.”
The winner of the Payne Stewart Award receives a $300,000 grant to donate to charities of their choice – in this case, the Zach Johnson Foundation.
Johnson, along with his wife Kim, established the foundation in 2010 to support children in his native Iowa. They run summer programmes to aid children’s education, and have helped to deliver over 500,000 food boxes during the coronavirus pandemic.
The 44-year-old also runs the annual Zach Johnson Foundation Classic, featuring a fundraiser gala, auction and Pro-Am tournament. The event raised $1.1m in 2019.
Johnson said: “I never got to meet Payne, but I loved him. I loved how he played the game – certainly as a competitor – but then how he lived his life off the golf course. He’s the model.
“I remember going to the Tour Championship and the Payne Stewart Award ceremony my rookie year and thinking, ‘This is the pinnacle of a PGA Tour player’s career.’
“It’s about how you utilise the gifts you are given, and I know Payne lived that way. I am deeply grateful and honoured. I don’t like being in the limelight a whole lot, but I hope in this regard I can at least be a small piece of his legacy.”
Johnson is a 12-time winner on the PGA Tour, with his highlights being success in the 2007 Masters and 2015 Open.
Past winners of the Payne Stewart Award include Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Nick Faldo.