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Toms Receives Payne Stewart Award
Former PGA champion David Toms received the Payne Stewart Award on Tuesday at the site of this week's Tour Championship, East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta. The award is given annually to the player that best exemplifies Stewart's respect for the traditions of golf and his commitment to uphold the game's heritage of charity support.
Toms' charitable foundation has raised more than $1.5 million for the relief efforts following Hurricane Katrina. The 2005 storm hit Toms' home state of Louisiana particularly hard.
"For years, David Toms has epitomized everything that the Payne Stewart Award represents," PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem told reporters at East Lake. "He's raised and given away millions of dollars to kids who are abandoned, underprivileged and abused. He and his foundation got involved in the aftermath of Katrina.
"In addition to everything else, has been a leader on the PGA Tour . . . all of us in the sport owe him a debt of gratitude for the contribution he's made in that regard."
"This is one of the best honors in golf, and I am truly grateful to be the recipient of the Payne Stewart Award," said Toms, a 13-time winner on the PGA Tour who qualified for the Tour Championship; he's currently 16th in the FedEx Cup points standings. Only the top-30 points-earners qualified for the season-ending event. "The fact that this recognizes so many different attributes is very humbling. I was fortunate enough to know Payne and play against him, and that makes this even more special.
"He was great to me when I was a young player and always helped me be at ease on the golf course," added Toms. "I will continue to do my by best to uphold his legacy."
Previous winners include Byron Nelson, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Ben Crenshaw, Nick Price, Tom Watson, Jay Haas, Brad Faxon, Gary Player, Hal Sutton, Davis Love III, Kenny Perry and Tom Lehman.
The award was named after Stewart, who died in a plane crash in 1999. Stewart was an 11-time winner - including three major titles - on the PGA Tour. He's also a World Golf Hall of Fame member.
In addition to its fundraising for Katrina victims, the David Toms Foundation works with at-risk boys and girls by providing them with programs designed to enhance a child's character, self-esteem and career possibilities. He is currently working to develop the David Toms Golf Academy, which aims to provide underprivileged youth in the Shreveport-Bossier, La., area the opportunity to learn the game of golf and its many values. Construction on the David Toms Golf Academy is set to begin in 2012.
Toms was also chairman of the David Toms Invitational from 2004-09, which raised more than $2 million for the Big Oak Ranch in Alabama, a non-profit organization for children who have been abused, neglected or orphaned.
The Golf Coaches Association of America created the David Toms Award in 2010 in conjunction with the David Toms Foundation. The award annually honors the men's collegiate golfer who has overcome adversity to achieve excellence.
Portions of the above report are courtesy of the PGA Tour. For the complete story, visit http://www.pgatour.com/2011/r/09/20/payne-stewart-toms/.