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The widow of golfer Payne Stewart recounts his training, his golfing career, which began on the Asian Tour, and the development of his Christian faith.
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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 SwinfenAbout the Author:
Tracey Stewart was born in Rockhampton, Australia, and attended school in Queensland. She met Payne Stewart in March of 1980 in Malaysia. They were engaged one year later in Singapore and married November 10, 1981. Currently, she resides 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! as well as baseball All-Star catcher Gary Carter on The Gamer. In 1999 he released a devotional for golfers entitled Fairways. His collaborations have been featured on "20/20", "Larry King Live", "Good Morning America", The Morning Show", "The Today Show", as well as The Nashville Network and the Family Channel. Abraham currently resides in Franklin, Tennessee.
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