Jim Moriarty's moving Golf World story on the death of Payne Stewart brought back bittersweet memories for many of you.
Dear Editor, For years I have been telling new acquaintances that I have not played golf since October of 1999. But for reasons I did not understand, I couldn't recall when, where, or any other details of that day; just that it was sometime in October. I didn't know at the time that it would be my last, but it still troubled me that I couldn't recall anything about the final round of a game that is still--and always will be--an important part of my life. Then the October 5, 2009 issue of Golf World arrived. The moment I saw the photo of Payne Stewart on the cover, the memories crashed over me like a winter wave over the seawall on Pebble's 18th fairway. My last round of golf was played on October 29, 1999; the day of Payne Stewart's funeral. As was my habit, I arrived early for a tournament but, instead of warming up, I teed up a ball next to the right tee marker on the first hole. Next to it I placed a photo of Stewart in the finish of what I still believe to be the most graceful swing I've ever seen. My tee time allowed me to go into the clubhouse and watch Paul Azinger's heart-wrenching and humorous eulogy in its entirety. I then returned to the first tee to stretch and settle my emotions. From behind the tee box, I watched as other players gave salutes, crossed themselves, or knelt in a moment of silent prayer at the little memorial. None of us knew Payne Stewart, but we were all touched by his life. I still don't recall the details of the round I played; I no longer care. What I do remember is that it was a beautiful day, I was on a golf course doing what I loved to do, and I spent it with several friends; all of whom are still dear to me. It was one of the best and worst days of my life. I thank you for helping me to remember it. Dustin Stinett San Juan Capistrano, CA
My heart stopped on 10-25-99. Thank you for Jim Moriarty's acticle. I have missed Payne for 10 years. And now, can feel the pain of so many others who miss him too!>
Jon A. Roth >
We're with you, Jon. It doesn't seem possible that it's been ten years. And the loss still feels fresh.