Payne Stewart 1999 U.S. Open Champion


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About This Photograph

Payne Stewart arrived at Pinehurst for the 1999 U.S. Open a year after a disheartening one-stroke defeat to Lee Janzen at The Olympic Club. Stewart, the 1991 U.S. Open champion, certainly had the talent to win a second Open. The other sub-plot in 1999 was Phil Mickelson, whose wife was expecting the couple's first child around the time of the Open. Mickelson carried a beeper and he told everyone if it went off, he would withdraw no matter where he stood in the championship. As it turned out, Stewart and Mickelson had a final-round duel, with Stewart taking a one-shot lead into the 72nd hole. He found trouble off the tee, but recovered to leave himself an 18-footer to win. Stewart drained the putt, and his celebration became an enduring image in U.S. Open history. Pinehurst has since erected a gold statue of Stewart with his final victory pose from the 1999 Open. The day after the Open, Mickelson's wife delivered the couple's first child.