SOUTHPORT, ENGLAND – JULY 20: Stewart Cink of the United States tees off on the 5th hole during the first round of the 146th Open Championship at Royal Birkdale on July 20, 2017 in Southport, England. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Stewart Cink has long been known for his charitable work, and his active commitment to growing the game of golf. Today, this pro, in every sense of the word, was named the recipient of the 2017 Payne Stewart Award.

This prestigious annual award began in 2000, one year after Payne Stewart’s tragic death the week of the 1999 TOUR Championship. The honor, which was created by the PGA TOUR and has been sponsored by energy provider Southern Company since its inception, is presented to a professional golfer who best exemplifies Stewart’s unwavering values of character, charity and sportsmanship.

“Stewart Cink epitomizes the ideals around which the Payne Stewart Award is built,” said PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan. “It is fitting that we will present the honor to him during the TOUR Championship at East Lake Golf Club. Not only is Stewart (Cink) a member there, but he also passionately supports the East Lake Foundation, which has done incredible community work in that area.”

MEMPHIS, TN – JUNE 09: Stewart Cink putts on the sixth hole during the second round of the FedEx St. Jude Classic at TPC Southwind on June 9, 2017 in Memphis, Tennessee. (Photo by Marianna Massey/Getty Images)

The East Lake Foundation provides the tools for families of The Villages of East Lake and students of Drew Charter School. The goal is to help the individuals in this previously underserved area build a better life for themselves and future generations through cradle-to-college education, mixed-income housing, and community wellness.

In addition to supporting this worthy cause, Cink and his wife, Lisa, created the Cink It Challenge. This 18-hole Pro-Am golf tournament benefits the Pregnancy Resource Center of Gwinnett and Gwinnett Medical Center Newborn Intensive Care Unit, two charities close to the couple’s hearts.

Cink is the 20th recipient of the award, joining a roster of “good guy” golfers that include Ben Crenshaw, Gary Player, Tom Watson and Jim Furyk, among others, as well as inaugural winners Byron Nelson, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer.

“To receive the Payne Stewart Award is one of the greatest honors of my career,” Cink said. “Payne Stewart was a player and person I admired greatly, both on and off the course. His character, his infectious spirit and his dedication to growing the game were all traits that I have always aspired to emulate. I am thankful the PGA TOUR and Southern Company have found a way to honor and remember Payne’s legacy.”

Congratulations to Stewart Cink for earning this incredible honor. And, thanks for giving us all something so positive to write about.