In collaboration with our partner, Windhoek, Compleat Golfer selects four pure gentlemen who graced the game of golf.
William Payne Stewart’s life was tragically cut short by an airplane accident at age 42. Stewart’s enthusiasm made him a popular figure all over America and the world and he was a clear fan favourite across golf events. One of the first players to take pride in what he was wearing on course, Stewart was never far away from the action donning an Ivy League cap. In motion, the American was one of the best golfers to watch with an elegant swing and complete calmness guiding him to three Major titles. Stewart was a family man and a beloved figure in the golfing world, with his good friend Stuart Appleby making sure his legacy lives on.
Hogan set an early standard for what the perfect golf player should be like. Although in a much-different era, the American oozed class, precision and determination whenever he hit a ball. A staggering nine Major titles set the tone for a record-breaking career and he became a strong influence in the revolution of a modern-day golf swing due to his exceptional ability. From a young age, Hogan had to overcome adversity to stay afloat, not to mention a near-fatal car accident in 1949 that left him with a fractured pelvis, collar bone, ankle, a chipped rib and dangerous blood clots. After being told he might not be able to walk again, let alone play golf, he came back in the most extraordinary fashion to continue his success on the golf course.
Seve’s sad passing brought tributes and dedications as seldom seen before. The Spaniard won a total of five Majors and nine PGA Tour titles. To this day, he still has the most victories on the European Tour with 50. Apart from his success on the course, Seve gripped people wherever he went and became known as arguably one of Europe’s most complete golfers ever. The emotion and reaction from Team Europe’s miracle triumph at Medinah in 2012 show the impact Seve had on the game. He left a legacy that will long inspire young golfers to bright and successful futures.
The Big Easy will undoubtedly go down as one of South Africa’s biggest sport stars ever. Not competing on the Tour Champions, Els continues with the swagger and aura that made him the golfing great he is today. But, more importantly, it is Els’ work off the course that will probably have a longer impact on the lives of people around the world. His exceptional Els 4 Autism foundation is doing groundbreaking work for autistic children across the USA and South Africa, while encouraging children from poorer backgrounds to get involved with the game by presenting them with life-changing opportunities. His record speaks for itself but what he has given back to the game, especially in South Africa, will continue to produce exceptional young golfing talents for the future.