More than any other, 1999 stands out as a year of specific, formative golf memories for me. In June, Payne Stewart's U.S. Open win electrified me. Even though, as a 9-year-old left-handed golfer, I was mainly rooting for Phil Mickelson, Stewart's 72nd-hole heroics won me over. I was devastated when he died tragically just four months later.
Stewart's engaging personality and sartorial flair won him many admirers who still carry a great deal of affection for him to this day. That's why it's significant news that several personal effects of Stewart's are up for auction this weekend at TheGolfAuction.com.
The most noteworthy of these items, by far, is current Lot #1: Stewart's 1999 U.S. Open Contestant's badge. It is one of several Stewart-related items his widow, Tracey, has recently made available.
Other items in "The Payne Stewart Collection" include Stewart's contestant badges from the 1989 PGA Championship (his first major triumph) and the 1998 U.S. Open (where Stewart was runner-up to Lee Janzen), as well as a 56-degree Titleist wedge he used and some crystal he won from eagles he made at the Masters during his career.
"I am pleased to share these items as a reminder of how much Payne enjoyed golf, but even more, how much he enjoyed people," Tracey Stewart said in a statement that accompanies the lot. "I hope these will become treasured mementos that will inspire and encourage people the way Payne did in his life."
As of press time, the badge has received 15 bids, up to $13,456 from an initial starting bid of $1,500. If you want to get in the running for this piece of golf history, you have until 9:00 am ET on Sunday, March 14.