Stunned tour pay tribute to Stewart

Payne Stewart, whose death in a plane accident on Monday has shocked the golfing world, will be remembered by members of the European tour with a minute's silence during the Volvo Masters at Montecastillo. Bernhard Langer will lead the short memorial service on the 18th green with an address after play tomorrow.

Payne Stewart, whose death in a plane accident on Monday has shocked the golfing world, will be remembered by members of the European tour with a minute's silence during the Volvo Masters at Montecastillo. Bernhard Langer will lead the short memorial service on the 18th green with an address after play tomorrow.

The tournament, which has been usurped as the season-ending event by next week's American Express World Championship, is almost the last thing on anyone's mind, however.

"It doesn't really matter, does it," said Colin Montgomerie, who should be crowned the European No1 for a seventh time a week on Sunday. "Whatever happens with order of merits and money lists happens, it doesn't matter. A minute's silence is the least our tour can do. I don't think anyone really feels like they want to play golf this week and, in America, definitely not, I would think."

At both the US Tour Championship, for the leading money winners, and the Southern Farm Bureau Classic play has been cancelled tomorrow, when a memorial service for Stewart takes place at the First Baptist Church in Orlando, Florida. Stewart and his family attended services at the church, which seats 5,000 and to which the golfer recently donated $500,000 (£310,000).

At the Champions Club in Houston, where flowers and messages of condolence were left on the courtesy car allocated to Stewart in the club's car park, 27 holes will be played today and on Saturday with the final round as normal on Sunday. In Madison, Mississippi, the US tour's second-string tournament has been cut to 54 holes.

The US PGA Tour has chartered planes to enable players who want to attend the service tomorrow to travel to Orlando from both venues. A short memorial service will also take place on the first tee in Houston before play starts this morning.

Many of the players at the Tour Championship are expected to make the journey to Orlando tomorrow. Tiger Woods was among those yet to make up his mind. "I don't know if you do go," Woods said. "Either way, it's going to be a tough day.

"I think that's an answer you have to come to grips with individually. Some players would rather stay away and try to handle it on their own. Other players find more comfort in knowing that they are giving of themselves to others in need."

A sixth passenger, it has emerged, also perished when Stewart's plane suddenly lost decompression and later crashed in South Dakota. Bruce Borland, who switched from a scheduled flight at the last minute, was a course architect with Jack Nicklaus's design company who was discussing a project with Stewart. Mike Hicks, Stewart's caddie for 12 years, frequently travelled with his boss but had been accompanied at last week's tournament in Orlando by his wife and three children and instead journeyed home to North Carolina before setting out for Texas.

As Montgomerie said, flying is a occupational hazard of being a professional golfer but John Daly now says he might not fly again. Instead of taking a one-hour flight from Dallas to Mississippi, Daly made the six-hour drive. "I'm really not even wanting to get on a plane to go anywhere right now," he said.

"I know they are safer and it's the best way to travel, but I've always said I like my chances in a car wreck before I do a plane crash, because nobody is going to live. You expect some other kind of plane to go down before a Lear. It was the only plane that I really felt safe in because of all of the safety features that it had. It was just like it was crash-proof."

Despite a huge £430,000 lead over Lee Westwood at the top of the Order of Merit, Montgomerie is in the frustrating position of not being able to secure his seventh Vardon Trophy this week as $1m is on offer at Valderrama next week.

Montecastillo sees the first appearance in Spain of Sergio Garcia since his debut as a professional in April but the 19-year-old may still face disciplinary action over his shoe-kicking incident at Wentworth a fortnight ago.

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