Payne Stewart's son shares emotional Father's Day U.S. Open tribute

16 Jun 2024

By: James Colgan

Payne Stewart - Figure 1

June 16, 2024

Payne Stewart's life and legacy are remembered his son, Aaron, in an emotional Father's Day tribute.

Getty Images

Payne Stewart knew he would never live through another Father’s Day like the one he celebrated in 1999, because when Payne Stewart left Pinehurst No. 2 that year, he was immortalized.

He had just won the U.S. Open, the culmination of a journey with faith, family and golf that captured the spirit of the golfing world. He was living out the wildest dreams of his second life, feeling the fulfillment of a successful professional career and a successful home life. He was truly happy.

He was more right than he knew. As it turned out, Stewart’s Father’s Day triumph would be his last. He died in an unthinkable private plane crash just months after his crowning victory in Pinehurst.

Father’s Day has become a confusing time for the Stewart family. On one hand, the holiday is an opportunity to celebrate the life and legacy of their late father, remembering his journey in professional golf through the event he burnished his professional legacy. On the other, it’s a glimpse at all the things the family has lost since that moment in 1999 — a reminder of the room that is now empty.

Few people would understand this dichotomy better than Stewart’s son, Aaron. He is the spitting image of his late father, sporting the same gentle cowlick, inviting eyes and warm smile that endeared his father to millions. Aaron was only 10 at the time of his father’s death, too young to process the depth of the tragedy that had befallen him.

Now, though, things have changed. Aaron Stewart is 35 years old, a husband and father of his own. He will celebrate Father’s Day by witnessing the 25th anniversary of his father’s greatest triumph, and as you might imagine, the coming anniversary has left him with a lot on his mind.

In a brilliant video essay that will air at the start of NBC’s U.S. Open coverage at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Aaron pays tribute to his late father with an emotional reflection on their relationship and on the years that have followed his death.

The essay, which Aaron wrote and recorded alongside his son, was produced by Golf Channel’s Emmy-winning features team of Izzy Deherrera, Jared Ficklin, Ben Jorden, Matthew Durham and Aaron Cohen. The team met with Stewart at his home in Islesworth, Fla., in the months preceding the U.S. Open and encouraged him to write a letter to his late dad, which they helped to adapt into a video essay for NBC’s coverage.

You can watch the full video above, and can catch it in the moments before NBC’s final-round U.S. Open coverage goes live on Father’s Day afternoon at 2 p.m. ET.

But before watching, let us be the first to offer the following advice: Grab a tissue.

Latest In News

James Colgan Editor

James Colgan is a news and features editor at GOLF, writing stories for the website and magazine. He manages the Hot Mic, GOLF’s media vertical, and utilizes his on-camera experience across the brand’s platforms. Prior to joining GOLF, James graduated from Syracuse University, during which time he was a caddie scholarship recipient (and astute looper) on Long Island, where he is from. He can be reached at [email protected].

Watch, play, win. Chirp Golf is your home for the best of real money Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) and Free-To-Play games.

Read more
This week's most popular news