Ten years to the day after I lost one of my favorite Golfers on the tour, I sat at the first tee focused on one simple phrase.
I must have asked that question of myself, dozens and dozens of times over the last 10 years. Only yesterday on the anniversary of his passing, a slight chill ran through my body each time I did it.
It's actually happening again right now as I write this, as my mind races with the thoughts of a great time passed. Not in the way it does with thoughts of one of his two US Open wins, or the PGA Championship win for that matter.
It's all about the loss of a friend. A friend only for one day I'm sad to say but, it was a pretty special day to me.
Still the single most popular read around these parts, the story of how I met Payne Stewart consistently brings back a swell of emotion and laughter. Every single time I re-read it, the roller coaster of sensations starts that long and grinding chug-chug to the top, always to be followed by the inevitable free wheeling fall to the bottom. It's times like this the anniversary of his passing, that brings out some of the deepest sadness I possess within me. I mourn for Golf's loss, our loss, his families loss and quite selfishly I know, I take myself deep into a place I only reserve for that one days memories, and I mourn my loss by myself.
Although physical memories surround me as I write this, such as a tribute wall to his incomparable 1999 US Open win.
The phenomenal print I was given with Payne putting on the 12th. hole at Augusta, with his friend and caddie Mike Hicks at his side.
And of course there's also the closet full of knickers and knee socks always ready to come out to the course with me, when ever the opportunity and emotions arise.
But the one that has and probably will always mean the most to me, sits hanging on the wall in front of me now.
That picture brings me right back to that one day. The day that I found out that one of my heroes, was really just a friend waiting to meet me.
So there I sat on the first tee asking myself, What Would Payne Do?
I continued to ask myself the question W.W.P.D. over each and every single shot. Over the first tee shot, all the way to the last 8" putt for the win.
I won a special event on a very special day, all thanks to wondering W.W.P.D. as I went about my business on the Golf course.
A victory indeed, but a bitter sweet victory at best.
Quietly as the stragglers from the event started to make their way home for their Sunday dinner with family, I raised my glass to the heavens and said a quick prayer and toast to a lost friend and his family.
One things for certain if you'd ever met the man, The "Payne" will always remain.
My sincerest thanks for dropping by....