Sports Spectrum Magazine Summer 2021

Stewart Cink wins PGA Tour's RBC Heritage, says his 'peace and joy' is in Christ

Age 47 has been nothing short of a renaissance year for professional golfer Stewart Cink.

With his son, Reagan, as his caddie and his family cheering him on from the other side of the ropes, Cink secured the RBC Heritage championship in Hilton Head, S.C., on Sunday. The victory is Cink’s second so far during the 2020-2021 PGA Tour season, after winning the Safeway Open last September. Before that, Cink hadn’t won a PGA Tour event in 11 years.

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Cink shot 19-under through the four rounds at the Harbour Town Golf Links, four strokes clear of second-place finishers Harold Varner III and Emiliano Grillo. Cink’s 16-under 126 was the lowest 36-hole score ever at Harbour Town, and he reached 18-under on Saturday for the course’s lowest-ever 54-hole score. He entered Sunday with a five-stroke lead, and his 1-under final round was enough to secure a comfortable victory.

Only Cink and Bryson DeChambeau have won more than once this season, and it comes 17 years after Cink’s last multiple-win season. He’s just the fourth player to win twice in the same PGA Tour season after turning 47.

Afterward, Cink joined his family for a special moment together on the course:

“I don’t know if I have words,” Cink said on the course to CBS Sports’ Amanda Balionis about his family being there to see him win. “It just keeps getting better. … It’s just so great to have this whole family here that means so much to me. It’s just really a blast this week.”

Cink’s wife, Lisa, began to get emotional when asked about her two sons, Reagan and Connor, being able to watch their father win.

“It’s just an amazing blessing,” she said. “God has blessed us beyond words, and I’m just super grateful and I love them so much.”

In his post-tournament press conference, Cink was asked how peace in his life has translated into his play on the course and allowed him to have so much success at the age of 47.

“The thing about me and my family with the peace and joy we experience, it’s not something that just we wait for the circumstances to line up, like the planets or some signs or tea leaves or something,” Cink said. “We install our own peace and joy because of our faith in Jesus Christ, basically.

“That is the No. 1 tenet of my life, and it enables me to feel peaceful and joyful even when the golf ball is not agreeing with my club face and not going in the hole. I don’t seek peace and joy out of golf because I know I can never depend on it to fully sustain that kind of peace and joy that I’m looking for. … I love playing and winning and having a week like this is just amazing, but the peace and joy that we experience — and it’s available to everybody — is something that you don’t have to wait for the circumstances.”

Cink has now won eight times on the PGA Tour since turning pro in 1995. He’s won at the Heritage twice before (2000, 2004), and famously won his only major tournament at the 2009 British Open, defeating Tom Watson in a four-hole playoff.

Since then, Cink has dealt with inconsistent play and a number of personal hardships. He finished in the top 10 only 15 times before September’s Safeway Open, and in 2016, Lisa was diagnosed with breast cancer. Lisa has been in remission for years, but soon thereafter Stewart faced his own cancer scare, having cancerous cells removed from his face.

Yet through it all, he’s kept his faith in Christ. In a 2013 video with Sports Spectrum, Cink discussed his faith on the PGA Tour.

“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.”

Cink, who will be 48 next month, knows he is closer to the end of his career than the beginning. He hired Reagan as his full-time caddie for the rest of the season after the father-son pair won the Safeway Open last September, and a re-invigorated Cink can’t imagine a more fulfilling duo.

“It worked at Safeway, it worked here this week,” Cink told Golf.com at the RBC Heritage. “I look forward to the rest of the year with him caddying. I might just retire when he stops caddying. How can I top this?”

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