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Nick Faldo honoured with Payne Stewart Award

On Tuesday, Sir Nick Faldo received the great honour of being awarded the Payne Stewart Award from the PGA Tour and Southern Company, adding to the knighthood he was given in 2009 by Queen Elizabeth II for his services to golf.

The Englishman has been left overwhelmed by both distinctions.

Faldo, a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame who won three Masters and three British Opens, said of his latest award: "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.

"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."

This is the 15th anniversary of the award, which is presented annually to a player who shares Stewart’s respect for golf traditions, his charity work and presentation in dress and conduct both on and off the golf course. Stewart is also a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame who earned three major titles among his 11 wins on Tour. He died tragically in a plane accident the week of the Tour Championship in 1999, shattering the golfing community and those who were close to the man himself.

Unfortunately for Nick Faldo, he was unable to attend the ceremony to receive the award after learning that his father had passed away on Tuesday in Britain.

Faldo has more than earned his award. As a golfer he won 39 titles worldwide, held his place as the No.1 player in the world for 98 consecutive weeks and played in the Ryder Cup 11 consecutive times. He was made captain of Europe’s team for the Ryder Cup in 2008 and is now the lead analyst for CBS Sports and Golf Channel, while also being very hands-on with his Faldo Designs golf architecture company which has 26 courses bearing his name worldwide.

In 1996 the Faldo Series was created to help grow the game around the world through grass-roots initiatives that identify, develop and nurture the game’s next generation of players. Today there are 40 annual tournaments contested in over 30 countries spanning the United Kingdom, Europe, United States and Asia.

Among the players to have taken part in the Series include Rory McIlroy and Yani Tseng.

"This award means a tremendous amount to me," Faldo said. "The Faldo Series, we're 18 years in to our Series now and what I would call pay forward, pay back, to golf. And so what we've done I'm very proud of."

The Series can only be beneficial for young golfers as it reaches 7,000 youngsters each year, with some of those players receiving financial support from Faldo as well.

Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem said: "Nick has used golf as a platform to inspire people around the world, much like that of Payne Stewart. He has set a wonderful example for today's youth and made an impact on countless lives.

"He makes a great addition to the list of recipients."

Faldo is the 17th recipient of the award. In the inaugural year of 2000, Byron Nelson, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus were honoured. Since then, the honorees have been as follows:

Ben Crenshaw (2001)

Nick Price (2002)

Tom Watson (2003)

Jay Haas (2004)

Brad Faxon (2005)

Gary Player (2006)

Hal Sutton (2007)

Davis Love III (2008)

Kenny Perry (2009)

Tom Lehman (2010)

David Toms (2011)

Steve Stricker (2012)

Peter Jacobsen (2013)

Sir Nick Faldo (2014)

Thomas Fanning, CEO and president of Southern Company, added: “Along with golf fans everywhere, I have for many years admired (Faldo's) athletic skills and – even more so – his commitment to enrich the lives of young people around the world.”