Els to be honoured with Payne Stewart Award

Golf would be hard-pressed to find a more generous and giving character than Ernie Els.

So the four-time major winner’s recent recognition as the winner of the 2015 Payne Stewart Award is a fitting tribute to a man who has devoted his life to helping people while playing the game he loves and chalking up 70 worldwide victories.

Ernie Els Ernie Els (Credit: www.golffile.ie)

Now 45, Els will receive his award on September 22 during the TOUR Championship, with the event to be televised live on The Golf Channel.

The Payne Stewart Award is presented annually to a professional golfer who best exemplifies Stewart’s steadfast values of character, charity and sportsmanship.

Stewart, an 11-time winner on the PGA Tour, died tragically in a plane accident the week of the 1999 TOUR Championship.

The following year, the PGA Tour created the Payne Stewart Award in his honour.

Past winners have all distinguished themselves through their respect for the game, the Tour’s tradition of charity and their ability to make a positive impact in the lives of others

Els is well-known for his off-the-course philanthropy, in particular his devotion to improving the lives of those with autism spectrum disorder as well as developing junior golf talent in his native South Africa.

“I have so many fond memories of Payne and always had the greatest respect for him as a golfer and as a person,” Els said.

“I think this award is a wonderful way to honour his memory and the values that he stood for.”

“To be considered worthy of receiving such an award makes me feel proud and very humble.”

Els’ glittering career included wins in the US Open in 1994 and 1997 and the British Open in 2002 and 2012.