While it was his second US Open victory it was the circumstances that followed Payne Stewart’s 1999 US Open win that added to the lore of the victory. As we all know it was just a few months later where the lives of Payne Stewart and four others were lost in a plane crash in South Dakota.
With three holes to play Phil Mickelson was leading by one stroke and Payne Stewart was on the 16th green staring down a 25 foot par putt. The veteran made the putt and then followed that with a short birdie putt on 17 to take sole possession of the lead. Standing on the 18th tee Stewart, now sole owner of the US Open lead at -1 par, hit his tee shot in the right rough. He was forced to lay up and play his third into the 18th from 77 yards. His approach came up 15 feet short of the hole and left him with an uphill put for the victory.
Stewart lined it up, took a glance and drained it. He punched the sky in sheer joy, hugged his caddie and that image is forever immortalized in a statue off the 18th green at Pinehurst Country Club.
YouTube Video Courtesy of MrSupergolfer