Steward Cink, former British Open Champion and five-time U.S. Ryder Cup team member, received the 15th Annual Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup along with collegiate and high school division athletes at a banquet ceremony in the Infiniti Club at SunTrust Park in Atlanta on April 25, 2019. Nathan Clayberg of Drake University was the collegiate recipient of the award. In partnership with the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association, the high school division recipients were Sarah Rauch of Grayslake North High School, Grayslake, Illinois, and Evan Gwozdz of Middleboro High School, Middleboro, Massachusetts. Bob Ryan, the famed sportswriter for the Boston Globe and analyst for ESPN, served as the Master of Ceremonies.
Stewart Cink was an All-American on the Georgia Tech golf team from 1993-1995, and was named ACC Player of the Year in 1995. He was the recipient of the Fred Haskins Award in 1995, given to the most outstanding collegiate golfer in NCAA Division I, and the Jack Nicklaus Player of the Year award. He was inducted into the Georgia Tech Athletic Hall of Fame in 2005.
Cink has been a full-time player on the PGA TOUR since 1997, playing more than 500 PGA TOUR events with six PGA TOUR victories during that 22-year-span, including the 2009 British Open at Turnberry. Cink’s first PGA TOUR victory came in 1997 at the Travelers Championship, with additional victories at the 2000 RBC Heritage, 2004 RBC Heritage, 2004 World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational, and 2008 Travelers Championship. Cink’s British Open Championship win at Turnberry came in a playoff over five-time Open winner Tom Watson. He’s also represented the United States on five Ryder Cup teams and four Presidents Cup teams.
Since turning pro, Cink has established himself as one of the most popular and philanthropic players on the PGA TOUR. In 2017, he was awarded the Payne Stewart Award in recognition of his philanthropic endeavors, his commitment to growing the game, his professionalism, and the distinguished manner in which he embraces the values of golf. As a member at East Lake Golf Club, Cink is one of the leaders in the community when it comes to supporting the East Lake Foundation. The foundation provides resources for families of The Villages of East Lake and students of Drew Charter School to build a better life through college education, mixed-income housing, and community wellness. In addition to being a top supporter of the East Lake Foundation, Cink and his wife, Lisa, have created the Cink It Challenge to benefit local charities that are close to the couple’s hearts. All proceeds from the Cink It Challenge support the Pregnancy Resource Center of Gwinnett and Gwinnett Medical Center Newborn Intensive Care Unit in northeast Atlanta.
Wooden Cup collegiate recipient Nathan Clayberg distinguished himself on the football field, in the classroom, and in the community. Nathan’s honors include being named Academic All-American, AllState Good Works Team member for charity work, and being named a football scholar semifinalist for the national William Campbell Trophy. Nathan has founded Unite Ministries which has raised more than $500,000 with the mission to support over 35 different service day projects in the Des Moines community.
Finalists for the collegiate division were:
- Abigail Abel, basketball, Purdue University
- Elisabeth Estep, volleyball, Alfred University
- Malani Lee, soccer, University of South Florida
Founded by Athletes for a Better World (ABW), a non-profit organization which celebrates the unselfish generosity of many participants in American sports, the Wooden Cup is unique in that it is open to all athletes in all high schools, college and professional sports. Annual nominations are open to every division and conference in college sports, and to athletes in public and private high schools across the country. The Wooden Cup is becoming one of the most prestigious awards in all of sports. Previous professional recipients include Jack Nicklaus, Pat Summitt, Cal Ripken, Jr., Drew Brees, and Mia Hamm.
John Wooden, who won ten national championships during the years 1964-1975 as basketball coach at UCLA, is commonly regarded as the greatest college coach of any sport who ever lived. Universally regarded as one of the finest human beings to ever grace the world of sports, his character, conduct and selfless gifts stand at the highest level by any standard. When Coach Wooden learned about Athletes for a Better World, he gave authorization to attach his name to this annual award, and he attended and addressed the inaugural event in Los Angeles in 2005. In his honor, the Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup is presented to four distinguished athletes: one professional, one collegiate, and a male and female from the American high schools, for their character, unselfish giving, and leadership both on and off the field.
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