The passionate golfers among us remember Payne Stewart as the legendary winner of eleven PGA Tour events whose flashy knicker outfits made him stand out from the crowd. But his son Aaron remembers him differently. “I remember the family time, the moments at home. He taught my sister and I that the right attitude can make all the difference.” Payne Stewart died tragically in a plane crash in 1999, just weeks after his second US Open victory. He was in the prime of his career.
Payne Stewart built his life on the cornerstones of goodness, and Aaron lives that legacy today – which is why I’m thrilled to announce Aaron as our keynote speaker at a once-in-a-lifetime charitable dinner on Sunday, July 17. It’s a commemorative event, celebrating the 25th anniversary of Payne Stewart’s historic win at Hazeltine National Golf Club. Will you join us?
An Addition to the Knicker Open
You may be familiar with my passion for the “The Knicker Open,” charity event. In 1991, Payne won the United States Open golf tournament at Hazeltine National in his signature knickers. His fashion statement sparked a philanthropic fire in custom clothier Kingford Bavender who founded the Knicker Open golf tournament in Payne Stewart’s honor. Over the last 25 years, the event has donated over $915,000 to the Boys and Girls Club of the Twin Cities – and two years ago, our firm made a commitment to lead the event.
Each year, the tournament raised an average of $40,000 for the Boys and Girls Club of the Twin Cities. Coming into the 25th anniversary year, my goal as the Chair was to break the million dollar mark for total giving; I knew that we wouldn’t get there if we simply stuck to our usual game plan. In reading about Payne’s life, I discovered that his son Aaron played Division 1 college golf…and the wheels started turning.
I did some checking, and learned Aaron Stewart had never been to Hazeltine National Golf Club – so I asked him to join us!
This summer, we’re adding an event to the tournament: on Sunday night before we play the Knicker Open, our partners at U.S. Bank, Patterson Companies, and Riverbridge Partners are helping me host a reception and dinner celebrating Minnesota golf history at Hazeltine. Aaron Stewart will give a keynote address – all on the same course where his father Payne won the U.S. Open, and where this fall’s Ryder Cup will be held.
A Legacy of Goodness
Aaron says that his father’s legacy impacts every part of his life. He grew up among golf royalty, but his father stressed respect for everyone no matter who they are. “My dad always treated everyone equally – whether it was Tiger Woods coming over for a barbecue, or a neighbor down the street.” That credence of equality has stuck with Aaron: every year, he and his family send charitable donations across the country through the Payne Stewart Foundation. Aaron’s favorite organization to work with is Kids Across America, a foundation that runs rural summer camps for inner city youth.
“My dad taught me to have fun and enjoy life – otherwise, you’re just wasting your time.” Aaron will share more of his father’s legacy in his keynote at the dinner on Sunday, July 17. I hope you will join me in celebrating Minnesota golf history and supporting the Boys and Girls Club of the Twin Cities. Please register for the Knicker Open Historic Dinner.
Good leaders leave a legacy of goodness that spreads through their friends and families. And they support good causes by living with generosity and positivity.