Spring 2021 Magazine

'Grateful' Stewart Cink wins PGA Tour event after 11-year winless streak

It’s been 11 years since golfer Stewart Cink last tasted victory on the PGA Tour. He captured the 2009 British Open over five-time champion Tom Watson in a four-hole playoff, the only major title of Cink’s career.

Now, the 47-year-old is finally back on top.

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With consecutive rounds of 65 this weekend, Cink won the Safeway Open in Napa, Calif., on Sunday by two strokes over Harry Higgs. He averaged 300 yards off the tee during the four rounds, hitting 21 of 28 fairways.

Cink said he felt comfortable all week with his wife, Lisa, watching from a distance and his son, Reagan, acting as his caddie for only the fourth time on the tour. Cink’s other son, Connor, also celebrated a birthday on Sunday.

“I didn’t know if there would be another more special moment for my career than [my British Open title], but there might be a new one now, today,” Cink said. “This whole week has been really great.”

Lisa said her husband’s first victory after so many years made it even more precious.

“It is the culmination of so many things, but so special to have Reagan and Stewart do this together,” she said. “And I’ve watched him work so hard for so many years without the results, so for those to show up now is just an amazing blessing.”

Cink has endured an extended period of inconsistency and personal hardships in the 11 years since his famous victory in the 2009 British Open. He finished in the top-10 only 15 times, and in 2016, Lisa was diagnosed with breast cancer. Lisa has been in remission for years, but Cink has had to have cancerous skin cells removed from his face.

On Sunday, Cink said he recognized what a special moment it was with his wife and son by his side.

“I walked over to the side of the ropes after [the 14th hole] and I grabbed Lisa by the arm and I just told her how grateful I was at that moment,” Cink told PGATour.com. “I always try really hard to keep my heart in the right place when I’m competing, that’s just one of my main goals. I want to win, but I don’t want winning to be something that I have to do to, like, fulfill myself.”

Cink, who in 2013 discussed his faith in a video with Sports Spectrum, knows that ultimate fulfillment comes from his relationship with Christ.

“Faith just helps me iron out a lot of the bad stuff, and whenever I feel like I’m on top of the world, it helps me realize that the glory is not for me,” Cink said in the video.

Later, Cink shared how valuable it has been for him to be involved in a Bible study with other golfers on tour.

“Golf can be really up and down, and 65s and 75 don’t feel the same,” he said. “Studying the Bible and being with these fellow believers helps me to feel like I can be the same every day and be grounded in something that’ll never change.”

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