Ten years ago this week, the late Payne Stewart staged an epic putting performance to win the U.S. Open at Pinehurst, generating highlights that will remain in our golfing memories forever.
Sadly, Stewart passed away later that year in a tragic airplane accident. This month, the Payne Stewart Golf Club opened in Branson, Missouri, paying tribute to the man, the golfer and the father.
The most enduring memories from Stewart’s U.S. Open victory in 1999 are his lengthy putt to win the tournament (video below) and his ensuing celebration, but he also sank dramatic one-putts on holes 16 and 17 to set up his storybook finish. He needed just 24 putts to finish on that Sunday.
That year, Stewart ascended from 40th to second in putting on the PGA Tour, so his putting game was razor sharp. Nevertheless, to sink such putts amid major tournament pressure remains a remarkable feat.
The magic in Stewarts hands was his new SeeMore FGP putter, which literally put his putting game into overdrive. SeeMore’s signature RifleScope alignment system, which consists of a red dot that is visually hidden by a blackened lower shaft, proved to be an empowering piece of technology for Stewart. In the accompanying video, you can see how he sets up the putter and uses the black shaft to communicate proper setup and alignment prior to stroking the putt.
The SeeMore Putter Company later fell on hard times, but has staged its own remarkable comeback in recent years under new ownership, proving that the RifleScope system is as timeless as Stewart’s victory. When Zach Johnson used the original SeeMore FGP to win the 2007 Masters, it only added to the company’s renewed momentum.
This week, on the eve of the U.S. Open, we remember Payne Stewart, and we salute the SeeMore Putter Company.
P.S. To learn more about the SeeMore story and the people behind it, read PutterZone.com’s interview with SeeMore consultant Pat O’Brien. O’Brien was not only a friend of Payne Stewart, but is also the putting instructor to Zach Johnson.