Bernhard Langer was today named as the recipient of the US PGA Tour’s 2018 Payne Stewart Award.
The award was given in “recognition of Langer's supreme level of character and sportsmanship, his professionalism and the distinguished manner in which he embraces the values of golf,” the US PGA Tour said in a release.
The award will be presented to Langer at the Payne Stewart Award Ceremony on September 18, in conjunction with the Tour Championship.
“We all are so proud of Payne Stewart and the husband and father he was, the player he was and the character he had,” said Langer in a release. “I was very close with Payne for a number of years. Toward the end of his career, he became a believer in Jesus Christ and a Christian, and that was very touching to me because the same thing happened to me a few years earlier, so we had even more in common at that point.”
Stewart was a beloved member of both the golfing and Orlando community. He died at age 42 in in 1999 during the week of the Tour Championship when the private Lear jet on which he was a passenger lost cabin pressure and subsequently crashed in South Dakota.
The plane had departed Orlando en route to Dallas. Stewart was an 11-time winner on the US PGA Tour and World Golf Hall of Fame member.
The Payne Stewart Award is presented annually  to a pro golfer who best exemplifies Stewart’s “steadfast values of character, charity and sportsmanship.”
Langer turned professional in 1972 at the age of 15 and joined the European Tour shortly thereafter, in 1976. He became a US PGA Tour member for four seasons beginning in 1985 and rejoined it in 2001.
“Bernhard Langer epitomizes the ideals around which the Payne Stewart Award is built – character, charity and sportsmanship,” said US PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan.
A past captain of the Europe Ryder Cup team, Langer, a native of Germany, has lived in Florida for many years. He is still a regular winner on the US Seniors (Champions) Tour.