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Payne Stewart: The Authorized Biography Paperback – May 1, 2001
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The problem with most authorized biographies is just that--they're authorized. They praise, adore, defend, excuse, inspire, whitewash, and love their subjects, which, in the end, conspires to keep the reader at a distance. Tracey Stewart's homage to her late husband Payne Stewart does all of that. It rarely allows a closer view than that available from where she witnessed most of his stirring final round victory in the 1999 U.S. Open: on TV.
Which is too bad, because the sartorially splendid golfer was more interesting and complex than that. Despite his deep family and religious convictions--when he played, he wore a bracelet with initials that stood for "What Would Jesus Do?"--he was certainly no saint; his early reputation as a hell-raiser was matched by a palpable whiff of arrogance later on. His accomplishments--three majors among them--were great, but his flaws were at least as fascinating as his successes. So, of course, was his tragic end, in an almost unimaginably bizarre plane crash not long after his great comeback triumphs in the Open and as a member of the victorious Ryder Cup team.
All the necessary facts are here. So are the various scriptures and devotionals Stewart relied on, the joys he felt in coaching his son's soccer team, his wrenching loss at the '98 Open, and the tears of relief he shed when he won at Pebble Beach--and, of course, Pinehurst--a year later. And so, too, is the occasional startling detail that defines a life--such as his son's request to bury his father in Payne's favorite Jimmy Buffett T-shirt, and Tracey's having to explain that no body was recovered from the plane crash. But too few other moments bring anything approaching that candid closeness. The rest comes off like a life passed through a protective filter, leaving the reader where golfers would rather not be--on the fringe. --Tally Swinfen --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Like many athlete-biographies, there are sections about Payne's early prowess and his loving relationship with his father, especially through their mutual love for the game. Their relationship echos so many of the wonderful father-son feelings that develop over a round of golf.
Payne was a thrilling personality in professional golf and like many professional golfers, gave a lot of their time and financial support to the community. In this book you read about so many people whose lives were touched by Payne and how they came together to support Tracey and to continue Payne's legacy after he died.
Every golf reader should keep this book on the shelf with the biographies of other golfers. I think you'll see the similarities of what it takes to be a truly wonderful person and another fine ambassador of the game of golf.