10 Years Ago.

10 years ago this weekend, I fell in love with golf. My favorite player of all time, Payne Stewart, and my second favorite player of all time, Phil Mickelson, walked up the fairway on the 18th green on Sunday after one of the most intense back-nine battles I’ve ever seen. Pinehurst No. 2, in my home-state of North Carolina, was the host to the 99th U.S. Open. Mickelson and Stewart took the lead back and forth from one another on the final nine holes, setting up an amazing finish to the day. As the rain had started gently falling, Payne Stewart stood over a 15-foot par putt on the 18th green for the Major Championship. He drained it. It was beautiful. With one of the most memorable fist pumps of golfing history, Payne was the champ. Phil, who hadn’t won a major in his career at the time, carried a pager the entire round because his wife Amy was expecting to give birth to their first child. After the round, Payne told Phil that he’d eventually win several majors, but for now to focus on being a father. Since, Phil has won 3 majors. Payne died in a plane crash about four months after his U.S. Open victory.

This weekend is the 10 year anniversary of that unforgettable tournament. The Open is being played at Bethpage Black in Long Island, NY. Phil will be in contention, though I’m sure his mid will be on his wife, Amy, who has been diagnosed with breast cancer.

The drama of that day may never again be duplicated, but it forever made me appreciate the beautiful game of golf.
Payne Stewart

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~ by Peyton Lea on June 18, 2009.

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