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Friday, October 29, 1999 Published at 07:50 GMT 08:50 UK

Lone piper laments golf's lost son

The eerie early morning fog was broken only by the sound of the pipes

The lament of a lone bagpiper led golfers in tribute to American golfer Payne Stewart at the start of a tournament in which he was due to have played.

Stewart should have been among the 30 top money earners playing in the US PGA's $5m Tour Championships at the Champions Golf Club in Houston, Texas.

The 42-year-old was on his way to Texas when his private jet lost pressure, killing all five occupants and later crashing.

[ image: Flowers were laid at the car-park spot resevred for Stewart]
Flowers were laid at the car-park spot resevred for Stewart
Some Tour officials believed the $5 million event should have been cancelled in Stewart's honour, but PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said it should be held in his name.

"Payne represented the best of golf," Finchem said. "He was a man of great faith, a devoted, compassionate and most energetic husband and father, and a man of tremendous generosity."

Fellow golfer Tom Lehman led the tributes to the two-time US Open winner.

"He loved to laugh and he was not ashamed to cry. I'm not going to be ashamed of my tears this morning, and neither should you," said Lehman, wiping away a tear. "When he died on Monday, a big part of us died, too."

[ image: Davis Love III listens grim-faced]
Davis Love III listens grim-faced
Stewart, a winner of 18 tournaments around the world and three major championships, was as sporting and traditional in his plus-fours and tam o'shanter as the game itself.

Fitting then that the scene at the memorial service reflected golf's Scottish roots, a kilted bagpiper playing the Scots lament "Going Home" as he walked through the early-morning fog lifting from the first fairway.

A short time later, Bob Estes made his own gesture to Stewart, using his putter for his first shot of the tournament.

"That's for you, Payne," he said. Estes finished the hole with a double bogey.

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