Commemorating the life of one of the game’s legendary figures – Payne Stewart – NBC and Golf Channel will present a one-hour film, Payne, as the U.S. Open returns to Pinehurst on the 15-year anniversary of Stewart’s victory. Delving into his enduring legacy, Payne will showcase Stewart’s journey into becoming not only one of the game’s most-beloved players on the golf course, but also a dedicated family man, entertainer, jokester and golf fashion icon with his signature plus-fours and tam-o’-shanter caps. Payne will premiere Sunday, June 8 at 5 p.m. ET on NBC and Monday, June 9 at 10 p.m. ET on Golf Channel, leading into the week of the 2014 U.S. Open Championship.
“Payne Stewart is one of the most-memorable figures in our sport and we are honored to work with his family and friends to showcase the mark he left on the game,” said Molly Solomon, executive producer of Golf Channel. “We are fortunate to be part of a game that is rich with compelling stories and personalities. And Stewart represented so much more than a golfer in eye-catching clothes, but a man that inspired others to live life to the fullest.”
Payne is produced and directed by 15-time Emmy Award winner Peter Franchella, who was a cameraman for NBC Sports’ coverage of the 1999 U.S. Open and followed the final pairing of Stewart and Phil Mickelson. Co-producing and editing Payne is two-time Emmy Award winner Matt O’Connor. Payne is written by 11-time Emmy Award and Peabody Award winner Al Szymanski, whose body of work has earned him Emmy Award wins for Outstanding Documentary and Outstanding Edited Sports Series/Anthology. Frederick “Fritz” Mitchell, a recipient of seven Emmy Awards and three Peabody Awards, also is contributing to the project.
In 1999, Stewart experienced great success with winning the U.S. Open at Pinehurst and being a part of the U.S. team’s dramatic come-from-behind Ryder Cup victory in Brookline, Mass. But all of that came to a tragic end with a plane accident that took his life in October 1999. Payne will feature interviews with Stewart’s family, friends and fellow competitors to capture the spirit Stewart exuded.
Payne will be the second project produced as part of Golf Channel Films. The first project was the critically acclaimed Arnie, a three-night Golf Channel event chronicling the life and legacy of Arnold Palmer. The film was the most-watched original production in network history and reached more than 1.9 million viewers across its premiere week in April. Arnie was produced under the direction of the 36-time Emmy Award winning team of producer Israel DeHerrera, writer Aaron Cohen and associate producer Mason Seay.