cover image The Last Stand of Payne Stewart: The Year Golf Changed Forever

The Last Stand of Payne Stewart: The Year Golf Changed Forever

Kevin Robbins. Hachette, $28 (320p) ISBN 978-0-316-48530-2

Sportswriter Robbins (Harvey Penick) delivers a riveting and heartbreaking biography of celebrated golfer Payne Stewart (1957–1999) that celebrates Stewart’s individuality (“a Jay Gatsby among the indistinguishable Tom Buchanans” of the golfing world) as well as his showmanship. Opening with the plane crash that killed Stewart just months after his legendary 1999 U.S. Open victory, Robbins focuses on the final year of Stewart’s life while expertly weaving in biographical details, from his time at Southern Methodist University through his PGA Tour success and rising popularity. Robbins provides both highly detailed and memorable accounts of Stewart’s tournaments that year, including the U.S. Open, but also explores the time as a transitional one for professional golf, in which the era of classic shotmaking gave way to the devastating power embodied by the likes of a young Tiger Woods. In his powerful closing chapters, Robbins explores the memorials and remembrances for Stewart while lamenting that Sundays without him “would never be the same.” This excellent biography is sure to please many a golf aficionado. (Oct.)