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BRANSON NEWS: In April 2017, Tiger Woods stood in front of the majestic 19th hole of his future golf course design with Tracey Stewart sitting a few feet away. It was there in a valley in the Branson area where Woods announced “Payne’s Valley” — the first public golf course designed by the world’s most famous golfer. Not only would the golf course feature the beauty of the Ozarks but it would also pay tribute to the late Payne Stewart. “To have the opportunity to represent Payne and his family and what he’s meant to the state of Missouri and the Ozarks — it’s an honor for me,” Woods said.Woods is set to unveil Payne’s Valley on Tuesday as a part of the Payne’s Valley Cup. The event will be nationally televised and will feature the likes of Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas and Justin Rose. “I have to express my gratitude to Johnny for what you’re doing to honor Payne,” Tracey, the widow of Payne Stewart, said in 2017. “This area means so much to him … It’s just an honor for our family.PAYNE’S VALLEY CUP COVERAGE: How to watch, stream Tiger Woods, Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy match“I know Payne’s looking down from heaven today and he’s so proud.”The late golfer was born and raised in Springfield and attended Greenwood Laboratory School on the campus of Missouri State. Stewart won three major championships during his career — two at the U.S. Open in 1991 and 1999 along with a PGA Championship title in 1989.Story continues below video.He had 11 total wins on the PGA Tour and was named to the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2001. Four months after Stewart rolled in an 18-foot putt, pumped his fist and hugged Phil Mickelson to win his second U.S. Open, the sports world was shocked when Stewart died in an aviation accident at the age of 42.When announcing the course, Woods reflected on his relationship with Stewart. He remembered his colleague’s “words of wisdom” during Woods’ first Ryder Cup in Spain in 1997. “I’m thinking I’m going to get some words of wisdom (as Payne pulled Woods and a few other golfers aside),” Woods said. “I was on Cloud Nine, representing the United States.MORE:Phil Mickelson gets wire-to-wire win at Ozarks National in PGA Tour Champions debut“He says, ‘Boys, I know this is your first Ryder Cup. Just don’t suck this week.’ And he walked away. Those were my words of wisdom.”Bass Pro Shops founder and CEO Johnny Morris collaborated with Woods on the project. He said he was “so proud” to work on something to pay tribute to one of southwest Missouri’s very best.Story continues below. “The tie-in with Payne Stewart and the Stewart family — everything he stood for, his character, values, he was a true champion,” Morris said.Tuesday’s event will showcase Stewart and will also work as a fundraiser for the Payne Stewart Family Foundation — a foundation that supports beneficiaries that are vitally important to the late Stewart, including Kids Across America, the AJGA and The First Tee. “We’re so excited to partner with you on all of this,” Tracey said in 2017. “I know it’s going to be a wonderful tribute to Payne and this area.”Wyatt D. Wheeler is a reporter and columnist with the Springfield News-Leader. You can contact him at 417-371-6987, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or join the conversation on Twitter where his handle is @WyattWheeler_NL.
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