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NBC, Golf Channel to Premiere Payne Stewart Doc

NBC and Golf Channel will premiere a one-hour documentary about the late golfer Payne Stewart the same week as this year’s U.S. Open, Golf Channel announced Monday. Payne will premiere on NBC Sunday, June 8 at 5 p.m., and will encore the following evening at 10 p.m. on Golf Channel.

This year marks the 15th anniversary of Stewart’s U.S. Open win at Pinehurst Resort in 1999, just months before he died in a plane crash. This year’s U.S. Open will be held at Pinehurst.

“You look on the calendar and you see that the U.S. Open is going to be returning to Pinehurst, and we wanted to figure out how we celebrate the man, the player,” Golf Channel Executive Producer Molly Solomon said of Stewart. “He’s legendary—both his character and as a player.”

Payne is the second documentary produced by Golf Channel Films. The unit’s first project, the three-hour Arnold Palmer documentary Arnie premiered April 13—the last day of the Masters—and drew 1.9 million viewers across the week.

Golf Channel is planning to unveil more documentary-style projects pegged to events in the golf world, with Solomon noting that golf will return as an Olympic sport in 2016.

“We want storytelling to be front and center,” Solomon said. “It’s going to help us in tournaments, in features, and also in original programming in primetime. Documentaries is a big part of that."