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Ben Crenshaw wins Payne Stewart award

Ben Crenshaw was awarded the Payne Stewart Award, started last year to recognize players who best represent professionalism, charity and the traditions of the game.

The award was created two years ago, after Stewart perished in a private plane that flew uncontrolled across the country and crashed in South Dakota. He was on his way to Dallas, and then to the Tour Championship at Champions Golf Club.

Jack Nicklaus, Byron Nelson and Arnold Palmer won the inaugural award last year.

``The things that make him live on are the right things in golf,'' Crenshaw said. ``Any association that I have had with Payne Stewart's name makes me very, very happy. I can assure you, he will always be with us in word, mind and spirit.''

Crenshaw won 19 times on the PGA Tour, including two Masters. He also was captain of the U.S. Ryder Cup team that staged the greatest comeback in the history of the matches two years ago at The Country Club.

``Ben Crenshaw has always exemplified the qualities that embody the Payne Stewart Award -- conduct, presentation, sportsmanship and integrity,'' PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said. ``Ben holds a reverence for the game.''

Stewart was on the '99 Ryder Cup team, and Crenshaw recalled how Stewart insisted on having a pingpong table in the team room for competition and to blow off steam, and how he asked to blare Bruce Springsteen's ``Born in the USA'' every day when he awoke.

``Every morning, we had to clean out our ears,'' Crenshaw said. ``But we got to be with him on the finest occasion.''

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