ATLANTA (WPRI) — Billy Andrade has been a professional golfer since 1987 and Tuesday night he was honored for his work off of the golf course.
The Bristol native has won 12 times on the course but says the biggest win of his career was being awarded the Payne Stewart Award.
“I walked in this room and there’s my wife and my son and my parents and right away I thought I was in trouble,” Andrade recalled.
That feeling soon went away when his wife pointed to a screen where he saw Tracey Stewart, Payne’s wife, and their two children.
“So very shocked and extremely honored,” he said.
The award is presented annually by the PGA Tour to a professional golfer who best exemplifies Stewart’s steadfast values of character, charity and sportsmanship. Stewart, an 11-time Tour winner and World Golf Hall of Fame member, died tragically 23 years ago during the week of the Tour Championship.
“This is the highest honor that you can get in golf so, to me, this is the highest honor I have ever gotten,” Andrade explained.
Andrade is the 25th player to win the Stewart Award and among those who have won it in the past are Hall of Famers like Jack Nickulas, Arnold Palmer, Tom Watson, Gary Player, Nick Faldo and Ben Crenshaw.
“You know looking at it and seeing Jack and Arnie and Byron Nelson were the first three [winners] and now I’m the 25th one to get this,” Andrade said. “You know these were guys that were heroes and there are guys that I played against and guys that were my mentors.”
Along with Barrington’s Brad Faxon, who won the award in 2005, the two have helped raise more than $30 million for local charities over the last three decades. A majority of that amount was generated by the CVS Health Charity Classic, which was held in Rhode Island from 1999 until 2021.
“It just warms my heart to think of all the lives we changed around here through golf and through CVS,” Andrade said. “I’ve just got a big smile on my face that we were able to do it as long as we did it.”
He is now in his 8th season on the PGA Tour and also earned a Top 3 finish earlier this month in Seattle.
“To get the call was a shock and I’m just so honored,” Andrade said.