ATLANTA (Reuters) - Former world number one Nick Faldo, a six-times major champion whose Faldo Series has given a huge boost to junior golf worldwide, was named the recipient of the 2014 Payne Stewart Award on Tuesday.
The honor is given annually to a player sharing Stewart’s respect for the traditions of the game and his commitment to uphold golf’s heritage of charitable support.
“On the golf course, Nick made his mark as one of the best players of a generation,” Tour commissioner Tim Finchem told reporters at East Lake Golf Club on Tuesday ahead of this week’s Tour Championship.
“But it’s off the golf course that he’s continued to make a huge impact since he put away his clubs. Nick has used golf as a platform to inspire people around the world, much like that of Payne Stewart.”
Englishman Faldo, 57, was unable to travel to Atlanta for the presentation of the award on Tuesday evening due to the ill-health of his father back in England.
“Payne was an entertainer with a twinkle in his eye who brought a unique combination of passion and intensity both on and off the course,” Faldo said in a statement released by the PGA Tour.
“I’m delighted to be recognized in the name of one who was a true individual, a one-of-a-kind personality in this game and one who will always be remembered so fondly by his fellow players and golf fans around the world.”
Faldo, who represented Europe at 11 Ryder Cups and went on to captain the team in 2008, won 30 times on the European Tour and triumphed nine times on the PGA Tour.
He now works as a golf analyst on television in the United States but perhaps his greatest legacy to the game has been achieved through his amateur Faldo Series.
Created in 1996 to help identify and nurture the next generation of champions, the series each year features 7,000 players competing in 40 tournaments staged in more than 30 countries.
Northern Ireland’s world number one Rory McIlroy and former women’s world number one Yani Tseng of Taiwan are among those who have advanced from the Faldo Series.
American Stewart, who died in a plane crash in 1999, won 11 times on the PGA Tour including three majors.
Editing by Frank Pingue