Payne Stewart: The Authorised Biography

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9780007109975: Payne Stewart: The Authorised Biography

Written by his wife Tracey Stewart, this is the only authorized biography of Payne Stewart. It gives the reader a detailed look into Payne's life through the eyes of the person closest to him throughout all the triumphs and disasters of his career. When his life came to a sudden and tragic end in Ocotber 1999, Payne Stewart was at the top of his game on every level. In June 1999 he secured his place as one of the golfing greats of our time when he putted out for victory in the US open and won a much coveted place on the winning Ryder Cup team. This is a book about a man unique in his talent, faith and commitment to his family. Many of the sports greatest characters can be found in its pages and it paints a compelling picture of life on the PGA circuit While this biography charts his professional accomlishments it is also a testimony of his personal triumphs. Those closest to Stewart said his family and faith were what mattered most to him. At his funeral his wife Tracey described him as a devoted husband, father and a devout Christian. She said "After 18 years of marriage, he was still the most beautiful man I had ever seen, because of what he was on the inside."

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Review:

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

About the Author:

Tracey Stewart was born in Rockhampton, Australia and attended school in Queensland. She married Payne Stewart in 1981and lives in Orlando, Florida with their two children, Chelsea(14) and Aaron(10). Ken Abraham is the author of over forty books. He collaborated with professional golfer Paul Azinger on ZINGER! and lives in Franklin, Tennessee.

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