ATLANTA, Sept. 18, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Southern Company today joined the PGA TOUR in proudly recognizing Steve Stricker as the 2012 recipient of the Payne Stewart Award. Stricker was honored in a ceremony at the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola in Atlanta. The Payne Stewart Award is presented annually to a professional golfer who demonstrates respect for the traditions of the game, a commitment to uphold the game's heritage of charitable support and the professional and meticulous presentation of himself and the sport through his dress and conduct. The award honors the memory of Payne Stewart, an 11-time winner on the PGA TOUR and World Golf Hall of Fame member who died tragically the week of the TOUR Championship in 1999. Southern Company, the "Official Energy Company of the PGA TOUR and Champions Tour," was the TOUR Championship sponsor the year of Stewart's passing. The PGA TOUR created the Payne Stewart Award in his honor, and Southern Company has supported the annual presentation since its inception. "Payne Stewart led by example, motivating and inspiring his peers, fans and countless others to achieve success in golf and in life," said Southern Company Chairman, President and CEO Thomas A. Fanning. "Character, integrity and commitment are the foundations of the Payne Stewart Award, and Southern Company shares a deeply held appreciation of these values. We are pleased to honor Steve Stricker, another deserving champion, with the presentation of the Payne Stewart Award." Stricker, 45, is a longtime professional golfer who has revitalized his career in recent years, winning nine of his 12 PGA TOUR titles since turning 40 and earning consecutive Comeback Player of the Year Awards in the process. He is ranked among the top players in the world and has been selected to the U.S. Ryder Cup Team this year.