Zach Johnson Breaks Down After Receiving Payne Stewart Award

The two-time Major champion was emotional after receiving the 2020 Payne Stewart Award

Zach Johnson Breaks Down After Receiving Payne Stewart Award
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The two-time Major champion was emotional after receiving the 2020 Payne Stewart Award

Zach Johnson Breaks Down After Receiving Payne Stewart Award

Zach Johnson broke down in tears after being surprised with the Payne Stewart award on a video call.

The two-time Major champion is the 2020 recipient of the award that honours the golfer "who best exemplifies Stewart’s steadfast values of character, charity and sportsmanship."

Payne Stewart tragically died in a plane crash in 1999 during the week of the Tour Championship, and this award is presented at the Tour Championship each year.

Johnson was on a video call with Jay Monahan before recognising that Payne Stewart's children Chelsea and Aaron were on the call as well.

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“I never got to meet Payne, but I loved him,” Johnson said of Payne Stewart.

“I loved how he played the game certainly as a competitor but then how he lived his life off the golf course – he’s the model. I remember going to the Tour Championship and the Payne Stewart Award Ceremony my rookie year and thinking, ‘This is the pinnacle of a PGA Tour player’s career.’ It’s about how you utilise the gifts you are given, and I know Payne lived that way.

“I am deeply grateful and honoured. I don’t like being in the limelight a whole lot, but I hope in this regard I can at least be a small piece of his legacy.”

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“Zach Johnson as the recipient of this year’s Payne Stewart Award is a testament to the impact Payne made on many of our contemporary players who never had the chance to meet him in person,” PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan said.

“Zach would say he’s just a normal guy from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, but in truth, he has one of the most compelling stories on the PGA TOUR in the last 25 years, a fearless underdog who has carved out an incredibly successful career through hard work and dedication to his craft.

“Off the course, his commitment to charity through his Foundation has made an indelible impact in Cedar Rapids and throughout Iowa where he is a state-wide hero. The PGA Tour is thrilled to add his name to what is an illustrious list of the game’s ambassadors.”

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Zach Johnson is best known for his Major victories at what are arguably the world's two most famous courses - Augusta National and The Old Course at St Andrews.

Johnson won the 2007 Masters and the 2015 Open.

He has won 12 times on the PGA Tour in total and played in five Ryder Cups.

Payne Stewart Award Winners:

2020 - Zach Johnson 2019 - Hale Irwin 2018 - Bernhard Langer 2017 - Stewart Cink 2016 - Jim Furyk 2015 - Ernie Els 2014 - Nick Faldo 2013 - Peter Jacobsen 2012 - Steve Stricker 2011 - David Toms 2010 - Tom Lehman 2009 - Kenny Perry 2008 - Davis Love III 2007 - Hal Sutton 2006 - Gary Player 2005 - Brad Faxon 2004 - Jay Haas 2003 - Tom Watson 2002 - Nick Price 2001 - Ben Crenshaw 2000 - Byron Nelson, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer

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Elliott Heath
News Editor

Elliott Heath is our News Editor and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news, features, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as four Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. His first Open was in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, when he walked inside the ropes with Jordan Spieth during the Texan's memorable Claret Jug triumph. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Western Gailes, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 2-5. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Titleist TSR4

3 wood: Titleist TSi2 HL

Irons: Mizuno MP-H4 3-iron, Mizuno MP5 4-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5