David Toms was presented the Payne Stewart Award on Tuesday, in honor of the three-time major champion who died in a plane crash on his way to the Tour Championship in 1999.
The award is for a player who shares Stewart’s respect for golf tradition, commitment to charity and presentation of himself and the sport through his dress and conduct.
At 48, Vijay Singh is the oldest player in the Tour Championship. At 23, Jason Day is the youngest.
Toms, whose 13 wins include the PGA Championship in 2001, has a foundation that works with at-risk children, and he is building a golf academy for less privileged kids.
He also has raised more than $2 million through a charity golf tournament that raises money for children who have been abused or neglected.
“Something like this is different,” Toms said. “It’s different than winning a tournament. It goes beyond that. And to be a part of this award is truly special.”
Toms said his only regret was not getting to play on a Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup team with Stewart, although he saw how much Stewart enjoyed life during the King Hassan tournament in Morocco. Toms said Stewart was in the locker room, wearing a strange hat and dancing to music in the presence of royalty.
“He went on to win the tournament that week, and it made an impression on me what he was all about,” Toms said. “I wish I would have got to play with him a lot longer. But just to be associated with the award with his name is a great honor.”