T.J. Auclair is a Senior Interactive Producer for PGA.com and has covered professional golf since 1998, traveling to over 60 major championships. You can follow him on Twitter, @tjauclair.
Short film captures the essence of Payne Stewart
If you've got a little over 12 minutes to spare today, you need to do yourself a favor and watch this "Nine for IX" short directed by ESPN's Hannah Storm, entitled, "Love & Payne."
The story is about the late Payne Stewart, who died in a plane accident just four months after winning the 1999 U.S. Open at Pinehurst 15 years ago. The 2014 U.S. Open returns to Pinehurst next week.
Often times, people are sensationalized in death. This short film doesn't do that. It's well-documented that Stewart wasn't always the nicest guy early in his career and came off many times as cocky.
However, has Stewart's widow Tracey notes, along with Stewart's good friends Peter Jacobsen, Roger Maltbie and caddie Mike Hicks, Payne reached the point in his life where he found peace. He was working toward becoming a better person and that was apparent in his on and off-course demeanor.
This story -- even in less than 15 minutes -- encapsules who Payne Stewart was... all of him.
Very well done. He'll be on the minds of many next week.