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2014 US Open: Nine things you should know about Payne Stewart

By Kyle Porter | Golf Writer

The Payne Stewart statue at Pinehurst. (Getty Images)
The Payne Stewart statue at Pinehurst. (Getty Images)

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You youngsters out there -- okay, myself included -- are going to hear the name Payne Stewart tossed around a lot during the 2014 US Open at Pinehurst.

You probably already know that he won the 1999 US Open at the same course over Phil Mickelson by one stroke on a putt that was bronzed into a statue.

You also probably know that Stewart passed away later that same year in an airplane accident en route to the Tour Championship in Texas.

Here are a few things you might not know.

1. Stuart Appleby dressed like him at the 1999 Tour Championship: A tribute from Stuart to Stewart and it was amazing.

Stuart Appleby with a Payne Stewart tribute in 1999. (Getty Images)
Stuart Appleby with a Payne Stewart tribute in 1999. (Getty Images)

2. Stewart actually won three majors: We think of him as this lone wolf major-winner because 1999 was so freaking memorable, but the reality is that he's one of only 43 golfers ever to win three or more majors.

3. Golfers at the 2000 US Open paid tribute to Stewart and Sergio Garcia wept: This is a pretty great look at who Stewart was.

4. You need to read this on the cameraman who filmed him at the 1999 US Open: There's some chilling stuff in this piece on Golf Digest about the man who took the now-famous shot of Stewart walking towards the sun at Pinehurst. He died four months later.

A sampling:

"'I can't tell you how many shots have been through my lens over the years,' Franchella says, 'but for some reason, when I shot that it was foreboding. There was something weird about it. In the moment, I truly felt something as I recorded that shot. It was more than the normal, 'That was a good shot.' A feeling came over me. It was powerful, but it also didn't feel right.'"

5. Stewart played golf with the Dream Team at the 1992 Olympics: Here's the report from Sports Illustrated.

"'Payne really wanted to go to the Olympics that year,' Boston Globe sportswriter Will McDonough, friend to both Stewart and Fraley, says. 'I was working at the Games for NBC, and he asked if I could help him with tickets. It worked out great. He wound up playing golf just about every day with the players from the Dream Team. He had a blast. He became known as the Official PGA Pro of the Dream Team.

"'He played a lot with Michael Jordan. I asked him one day how good Jordan was. He said Jordan was pretty good but always wanted to bet big money on the matches, and he didn't want to do that, take the money. He did it, but he didn't like it. On just about the last day of the Games, he played again with Jordan. I asked what Jordan had shot. Payne said, 'Seventy-two.' I said, 'Whoa. Jordan must have got a lot of that money back.' I asked Payne what he'd shot. He said, 'Sixty-four.'"

That's pretty awesome.

6. What did he say to Mickelson after the 1999 Open? You can see the video here:

His words were "you're going to be a great father." All of the chills.

7. He used a 1-iron: Okay, so lots of people used a 1-iron back in the day, but it doesn't get more badass than that. Rick Reilly referenced it in this article about Stewart winning the 1991 PGA Championship at Hazeltine.

8. Stewart led the 1998 US Open by four shots after 54 holes and lost: Then his ball came to rest in this divot on the 12th hole and he made two straight bogeys and eventually lost to Lee Janzen by one stroke.

9. He used to play Springsteen on a boombox at the Ryder Cup: This is from Helen Ross' tremendous piece on Amy Mickelson and that 1999 Open.

"That fall, Payne Stewart would die in a bizarre plane crash, one month after playing with Phil on what has become an increasingly rare victorious U.S. Ryder Cup team at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass.

"Amy remembers Stewart that week as being in a 'good place ... a very balanced, centered man.' He was the last one standing at the parties and the first up in the mornings, roaming the halls of the team hotel, wearing in baggy pants and carrying a boom box blaring the best Bruce Springsteen could offer."

Some really cool stories on a man who will never be forgotten.

For more golf news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnGolf and @KylePorterCBS on Twitter or Google+ and like us on Facebook.

 
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