Snead in 1967
|Full name||Samuel Jackson Snead|
|Born||May 27, 1912|
Ashwood, Virginia, U.S.
|Died||May 23, 2002 89) (aged|
Hot Springs, Virginia, U.S.
|Height||5 ft 11 in (180 cm)|
|Weight||185 lb (84 kg)|
|Spouse||Audrey Karnes Snead|
(m. 1940–90, her death)
|Children||Sam Jr., Terrence|
|Former tour(s)|| PGA Tour |
|Number of wins by tour|
|PGA Tour||82 (T-1st all time)|
|Best results in major championships|
|Masters Tournament||Won: 1949, 1952, 1954|
|PGA Championship||Won: 1942, 1949, 1951|
|U.S. Open||2nd/T2: 1937, 1947, 1949, 1953|
|The Open Championship||Won: 1946|
|Achievements and awards|
Samuel Jackson Snead (pronounced [ sni:d]; May 27, 1912 – May 23, 2002) was an American professional golfer who was one of the top players in the world for the better part of four decades (having won PGA of America and Senior PGA Tour events over six decades) and widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time. Snead was awarded a record 94 gold medallions, for wins in PGA of America (referred to by most as the PGA) Tour events and later credited with winning a record 82 PGA Tour events, including seven majors. He never won the U.S. Open, though he was runner-up four times. Snead was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1974.
Snead's nicknames included "The Slammer", "Slammin' Sammy Snead", and "The Long Ball Hitter from West Virginia", and he was admired by many for having a "perfect swing", which generated many imitators. Snead was famed for his folksy image, wearing a straw hat, and making such statements as "Keep close count of your nickels and dimes, stay away from whiskey, and never concede a putt."and "There are no short hitters on the tour anymore, just long and unbelievably long." Fellow West Virginia Golf Hall of Fame Inductee Bill Campbell has said of Snead, "He was the best natural player ever. He had the eye of an eagle, the grace of a leopard and the strength of a lion." Gary Player once said that, "I don't think there's any question in my mind that Sam Snead had the greatest golf swing of any human being that ever lived". Jack Nicklaus said that Snead's swing was, "so perfect".
Snead was the PGA leading money winner in 1938, 1949 and 1950. He won the Vardon Trophy, for lowest scoring average, four times: 1938, 1949, 1950, and 1955. In 1949, he was PGA Golfer of the Year.
Snead was inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame in 1973.In 1986, Snead was inducted into the Middle Atlantic PGA Hall of Fame. Snead was also inducted into the PGA of America Hall of Fame and the Helms Hall of Fame. Snead received the PGA Tour Lifetime Achievement Award in 1998. In 2009, Snead was inducted into the inaugural class of the West Virginia Golf Hall of Fame and in 2016, Snead was the unanimous top choice for inclusion in the Virginia Golf Hall of Fame's inaugural class.
Born in Ashwood, Virginia, near Hot Springs, Snead began caddying at age seven at The Homestead's Old Course in Hot Springs. He worked as an assistant pro at The Homestead at 17 in 1929, then moved to the Cascades Course and turned professional in 1934.During the depression, Snead self taught himself the game of golf from a set of clubs carved from tree limbs. Snead joined the PGA Tour in 1936, and achieved immediate success by winning the West Virginia Closed Pro tournament.
In 1936 he won two matches at the Meadow Brook Club, earning a $10,000 prize. This gave him the money he needed to start playing professionally full-time.In 1944 he became resident playing professional at The Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, and maintained ties to Hot Springs and The Homestead all of his life. During the winter, he was resident playing pro at the Boca Raton Resort from 1956–1969. Each spring he returned to the Mid-Atlantic, stopping at The Masters Tournament on his way back to The Greenbrier.
Snead served in the U.S. Navy during World War II from 1942 to 1944.He was an athletic specialist in Cmdr. Gene Tunney's program in San Diego, and was given a medical discharge for a back injury in September 1944.
Snead appeared as himself in an episode of The Phil Silvers Show, The Colonel Breaks Par, in 1957.
His nephew, J.C. Snead, was also a successful professional golfer, winning tournaments on both the PGA Tour and the Champions Tour.
In July 1936, Snead won his first tournament, the West Virginia Closed Pro, contested at The Greenbrier's Championship Course and Old White Course. He shot rounds of 70-61 to rout Logan, West Virginia professional, Clem Wiechman by 16 strokes (74-73).The following month, he won the first of 17 West Virginia Open championships by beating Art Clark by five strokes at Guyan Country Club in Huntington, West Virginia.
In 1937, Snead's first full year on the PGA Tour,he won six events, including the Oakland Open at Claremont Country Club in California and his second West Virginia Open. In Snead's debut in the U.S. Open hosted at Oakland Hills, he finishes runner-up to Ralph Guldahl (who wins with 19 clubs in his bag). Snead shared the first round lead shooting 69 with fellow West Virginian Denny Shute (1936 and 1937 PGA Champion). In Snead's first of two attempts in The Open Championship, he finished tied for 11th. While working at The Greenbrier, Snead played in the U.S. Pro Tennis Championships. In the first round, he faced eventual winner Karel Kozeluh, losing to Kozeluh by scores of 6-1, 6-1, and 6-1.
In 1938, Snead first won the Greater Greensboro Open, the first of eight times, the Tour record for victories of a single tournament event. Snead's last win at Greensboro was in 1965, at the age of 52 years, 311 days, making him the oldest player to win a PGA Tour event. Snead introduced his first book, Sam Snead's quick way to better golf.
In 1939, Snead won three times. 1939 was the first of four times (although Snead had already come close in 1937, losing to the eventual champion who had 19 clubs in his bag) where Snead failed at crucial moments of the U.S. Open, the only major event he never won. Needing par to win at the Philadelphia C.C., but not knowing that, since on-course scoreboards did not exist at that time, Snead posted a triple-bogey 8 on the par-5 72nd hole, taking a risky shot from a difficult lie in the fairway. Snead had been told on the 18th tee by a spectator that he needed a birdie to win.Snead ended up in fifth place, two shots behind three players who went into a playoff.
During World War II, Snead was prevented in participating in 14 major championships (1940–1945 Open Championship, 1942–1945 U.S. Open, 1943–1945 Masters, 1943 PGA Championship), due to their cancellation. Snead served in the U.S. Navy from 1942 to 1944.
In 1946, Snead won six times including the Open Championship at St Andrews. Expenses were more than 3x the winning purseand like Hogan (who won in his only attempt in 1953) and Nelson (who finished 5th in his only attempt in 1937) he never went back to play in the Open Championship. Snead introduced the book, Sam Snead's How to play golf, and professional tips on improving your score. Also, rules of the game of golf, as approved by the United States Golf Association, and by the Royal and ancient golf club of St. Andrews.
At the U.S. Open in 1947, Snead missed a 30-inch (76 cm) putt on the final playoff hole to finish runner-up to Lew Worsham.
Snead won three times in 1948, including his first Texas Open and fourth West Virginia Open.
In 1949, Snead won nine PGA events including two majors including the Mastersand the PGA Championship and was awarded Golfer of the Year. For Snead, it was the third of four second-place finishes at the U.S. Open, the only major championship he never won. Needing two pars to finish in a tie for the lead, Snead took three shots to hole out his ball from the fringe of the green on the 17th hole.
In 1950, Snead won 11 events, placing him third in that category behind Byron Nelson (18, in 1945) and Ben Hogan (13, in 1946).Snead claimed that 1950 was his "greatest year" winning "eleven tournaments" including a playoff victory over Hogan in the L.A. Open yet lost the "Golfer of the Year" to Hogan, who won one "tournament". His scoring average of 69.23 was a Vardon Trophy record that stood for 50 years.
In 1952, Snead won ten events including the Masters.At the Jacksonville Open, Snead forfeited rather than play an 18-hole playoff against Doug Ford after the two golfers finished in a tie at the end of regulation play. The forfeit stemmed from a ruling Snead received during the tournament's second round of play. On the 10th hole, Snead's drive landed behind an out of bounds stake. While Chick Harbert, who was playing with Snead, thought the ball was out of bounds, a rules official ruled differently due to the starter not telling players the stakes had been moved after the previous day's play had ended. Afterwards, Snead explained why he forfeited even though Ford suggested they play sudden death for the title. "I want to be fair about it. I don't want anyone to think I took advantage of the ruling." Snead set the record for most PGA wins after reaching age 40, with 17.
In 1953, Snead won three events. He finished runner-up to Ben Hogan at the U.S. Open (the fourth time he would finish runner-up at the U.S. Open).
In 1954, Snead won two events, one of which was the Masters in an 18-hole playoff over Ben Hogan.
In December 1959, Snead took part in a controversial match against Mason Rudolph, at the Mid Ocean Club in Bermuda. Snead decided to deliberately lose the televised match, played under the "World Championship Golf" series, during its final holes, after he discovered on the 12th hole that he had too many golf clubs in his bag. (A player is limited to 14 clubs during competitive rounds.) The match was tied at that stage. The extra club in his bag, a fairway wood Snead had been experimenting with in practice, would have caused him to be immediately disqualified according to the Rules of Golf, even though he did not use it during the round. After the match was over, Snead explained the matter, and said he did not disqualify himself in order not to spoil the show. The problem did not become known outside a small circle until the show was televised four months later. After the incident came to light, the sponsor cancelled further participation in the series.
Beginning in 1960, Snead hosted television's Celebrity Golf program, emceed by Harry von Zell, competing for charity in nine-hole contests against Hollywood celebrities like Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis and Bob Hope. Snead had appeared with Martin and Lewis in their 1953 comedy film, The Caddy .
On February 7, 1962, at age 49, Snead won the Royal Poinciana Plaza Invitational. He is the only man to ever win an official LPGA Tour event.
His 1962 autobiography was titled The Education of a Golfer.Snead later wrote several golf instructional books, and frequently wrote instructional columns in golf magazines.
In 1965, Snead became the oldest player (52 years, 10 months and 8 days) to win on the PGA Tour (the Greater Greensboro Open).
Snead played on seven Ryder Cup teams: 1937, 1947, 1949, 1951, 1953, 1955, and 1959. Snead was selected to the 1939 Ryder Cup team however the event was never played due to WWII.He captained the team in 1951, 1959, and 1969.
In 1971, he won the PGA Club Professional Championship at Pinehurst Resort.
In 1973, Snead became the oldest player to make a cut in a U.S. Open at age 61.
In the 1974, age 61, he shot a third round 66 at the Los Angeles Open at Riviera Country Club to move into contention. A birdie at #17 in the last round moved him to within one stroke of the lead. Dave Stockton hit a miraculous fairway wood on the final hole. Snead was joint runner-up.
He shot a final round 68 at the 1974 PGA Championship to finish tied for third, three strokes behind winner Lee Trevino. At age 62, it was Snead's third consecutive top-10 finish at the PGA Championship, but his last time in contention at a major.
In 1978, he won the first Legends of Golf event, which was the impetus for the creation, two years later, of the Senior PGA Tour, now the Champions Tour.
In 1979, he was the youngest PGA Tour golfer to shoot his age (67) in the second round of the 1979 Quad Cities Open. He shot under his age (66) in the final round.
In 1982 he teamed with Don January to shoot 27-under-par to win the rain-shortened 54 hole Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf event at Onion Creek Club "The Birthplace of the Senior PGA Tour" in Austin, Texas. This victory would mark victories for Snead that spanned over six decades (1930s–1980s) winning tour and senior tour events.
In 1983, at age 71, he shot a round of 60 (12-under-par) at The Homestead in Hot Springs, Virginia.
In 1986, Snead wrote the book, Pigeons, marks, hustlers and other golf bettors you can beat.
In 1997, at age 85, he shot a round of 78 at the Old White course of The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.
In 1998, he received the PGA Tour Lifetime Achievement Award, the fourth person to be so honored.
From 1984 to 2002, he hit the honorary starting tee shot at the Masters Tournament. Until 1999, he was joined by Gene Sarazen, and until 2001, by Byron Nelson.
In 2000, Snead was ranked the third greatest golfer of all time, in Golf Digest magazine's rankings, behind only Jack Nicklaus and Ben Hogan.
Snead died in Hot Springs, Virginia, in 2002 following complications from a stroke, four days before his 90th birthday. He was survived by two sons: Sam Jr. of Hot Springs, and Terry, of Mountain Grove, Virginia, and a brother, Pete, of Pittsburgh, as well as two grandchildren. His wife Audrey died in 1990. His nephew J. C. Snead was also a PGA Tour golfer.
During his peak years, Snead was an exceptionally long driver, particularly into the wind, with very good accuracy as well. He was a superb player with the long irons. Snead was also known for a very creative short game, pioneering use of the sand wedge for short shots from grass. As he aged, he began to experiment with different putting styles. Snead pioneered croquet-style putting in the 1960s, where he straddled the ball with one leg on each side. The United States Golf Association banned this technique in 1968 by amending the old Rule 35–1,since until that time, golfers had always faced the ball when striking. Snead then went to side-saddle putting, where he crouched and angled his feet towards the hole, and held the club with a split grip. He used that style for the rest of his career.
Snead holds the following records:
|Major championships (7)|
|Other PGA Tour (75)|
|No.||Date||Tournament||Winning score||Margin of|
|1||Jul 10, 1936||West Virginia Closed Pro||−9 (70-61=131)||16 strokes|
|2||Jan 17, 1937||Oakland Open||−2 (69-65-69-67=270)||2 strokes|
|3||Feb 7, 1937||Bing Crosby Pro-Am||−4 (68)||4 strokes|
|4||Aug 1, 1937||St. Paul Open||−5 (72-69-71-71=283)||1 stroke|
|5||Dec 20, 1937||Nassau Open||−4 (66-70-70-70=276)||1 stroke|
|6||Dec 25, 1937||Miami Open||−13 (68-67-66-66=267)||5 strokes|
|7||Jan 17, 1938||Bing Crosby Pro-Am||−5 (72-67=139)||2 strokes|
|8||Mar 28, 1938||Greater Greensboro Open||−11 (66-68-69-68=271)||5 strokes|
|9||May 29, 1938|| Inverness Invitational Four-Ball |
|+9 points||1 point|
|10||Jun 26, 1938||Palm Beach Round Robin||+14 points||Playoff|
|11||Jul 24, 1938||Chicago Open||−3 (64-73-70=207)||1 stroke|
|12||Aug 22, 1938||Canadian Open||−11 (69-67-69-72=277)||Playoff|
|13||Sep 27, 1938||Westchester 108 Hole Open||+10 (73-72-73-72-71-69=430)||2 strokes|
|14||Nov 10, 1938||White Sulphur Springs Open||−7 (68-68-69-68=273)||2 strokes|
|15||Mar 3, 1939||St. Petersburg Open||−9 (70-69-68=207)||Playoff|
|16||Mar 8, 1939|| Miami Biltmore International Four-Ball |
|7 & 6|
|17||Dec 17, 1939||Miami Open||−12 (68-72-67-64=271)||2 strokes|
|18||Jun 16, 1940|| Inverness Invitational Four-Ball |
|+15 points||3 points|
|19||Aug 19, 1940||Canadian Open||−3 (67-66-75-73=281)||Playoff|
|20||Sep 8, 1940||Anthracite Open||−4 (65-73-68-70=276)||2 strokes|
|21||Jan 25, 1941||Bing Crosby Pro-Am||−8 (67-69=136)||1 stroke|
|22||Feb 28, 1941||St. Petersburg Open||−5 (67-72-68-72=279)||2 strokes|
|23||Mar 20, 1941||North and South Open||−11 (69-66-73-69=277)||3 strokes|
|24||Aug 9, 1941||Canadian Open||−6 (71-68-66-69=274)||2 strokes|
|25||Aug 17, 1941||Rochester Times-Union Open||−3 (67-70-73-67=277)||7 strokes|
|26||Sep 21, 1941||Henry Hurst Invitational||−8 (64-74-69-65=272)||9 strokes|
|27||Mar 6, 1942||St. Petersburg Open||−2 (70-74-73-72=286)||3 strokes|
|28||May 31, 1942||PGA Championship||2 & 1|
|29||Nov 26, 1944||Portland Open||+1 (70-74-73-72=289)||2 strokes|
|30||Dec 17, 1944||Richmond Open||−6 (70-69-69-70=278)||1 stroke|
|31||Jan 8, 1945||Los Angeles Open||−1 (71-71-72-69=283)||1 stroke|
|32||Feb 19, 1945||Gulfport Open||−9 (65-71-70-69=275)||Playoff|
|33||Feb 25, 1945||Pensacola Open||−21 (67-64-68-68=267)||7 strokes|
|34||Mar 4, 1945||Jacksonville Open||−22 (69-65-66-66=266)||4 strokes|
|35||Sep 9, 1945||Dallas Open||−12 (70-69-69-68=276)||4 strokes|
|36||Sep 16, 1945||Southwestern Invitational||−7 (68-67-69-73=277)||9 strokes|
|37||Mar 17, 1946||Jacksonville Open||−24 (64-66-67-67=264)||4 strokes|
|38||Mar 24, 1946||Greater Greensboro Open||−10 (70-67-67-66=270)||6 strokes|
|39||Apr 21, 1946||Virginia Open||−1 (69-66-68-72=275)||Playoff|
|40||Jul 5, 1946||The Open Championship||−2 (71-70-74-75=290)||4 strokes|
|41||Sep 8, 1946||World Championship of Golf||−6 (69-69=138)||2 strokes|
|42||Dec 8, 1946||Miami Open||−12 (65-66-66-71=268)||3 strokes|
|43||Feb 8, 1948||Texas Open||−20 (66-65-65-68=264)||2 strokes|
|44||Mar 28, 1949||Greater Greensboro Open||−8 (68-69-69-70=276)||Playoff|
|45||Apr 10, 1949||Masters Tournament||−6 (73-75-67-67=282)||3 strokes|
|46||May 31, 1949||PGA Championship||3 & 2|
|47||Jul 4, 1949||Washington Star Open||−16 (69-64-69-70=272)||2 strokes|
|48||Jul 18, 1949||Dapper Dan Open||−16 (67-67-69-71=272)||1 stroke|
|49||Jul 31, 1949||Western Open||−20 (69-67-65-67=268)||4 strokes|
|50||Jan 15, 1950||Bing Crosby Pro-Am||−2 (69-72-73=214)||Tied|
|51||Jan 18, 1950||Los Angeles Open||−4 (71-72-71-66=280)||Playoff|
|52||Feb 12, 1950||Texas Open||−19 (71-68-63-63=265)||1 stroke|
|53||Mar 12, 1950||Miami Beach Open||−15 (71-66-65-71=273)||3 strokes|
|54||Mar 26, 1950||Greater Greensboro Open||−11 (66-70-66-67=269)||10 strokes|
|55||May 21, 1950||Western Open||−2 (69-71-69-73=282)||1 stroke|
|56||May 28, 1950||Colonial National Invitation||−3 (66-72-66-73=277)||3 strokes|
|57||Jul 16, 1950|| Inverness Invitational Four-Ball |
|+18 points||13 points|
|58||Sep 10, 1950||Reading Open||−20 (68-65-65-70=268)||8 strokes|
|59||Nov 3, 1950||North and South Open||−13 (68-71-66-70=275)||4 strokes|
|60||Dec 3, 1950||Miami Open||−13 (69-66-66-66=267)||5 strokes|
|61||Jul 3, 1951||PGA Championship||7 & 6|
|62||Dec 9, 1951||Miami Open||−12 (64-68-68-68=268)||5 strokes|
|63||Apr 6, 1952||Masters Tournament||−2 (70-67-77-72=286)||4 strokes|
|64||May 18, 1952||Palm Beach Round Robin||+57 points||2 points|
|65||Jun 29, 1952|| Inverness Invitational Four-Ball |
|+13 points||12 points|
|66||Aug 3, 1952||All American Open||−17 (67-65-74-65=271)||8 strokes|
|67||Sep 14, 1952||Eastern Open||−13 (71-67-68-69=275)||2 strokes|
|68||Mar 8, 1953||Baton Rouge Open||−13 (69-68-67-71=275)||3 strokes|
|69||Apr 12, 1954||Masters Tournament||+1 (74-73-70-72=289)||Playoff|
|70||May 16, 1954||Palm Beach Round Robin||+62 points||36 points|
|71||Apr 17, 1955||Greater Greensboro Open||−7 (68-67-69-69=273)||1 stroke|
|72||Jun 5, 1955||Palm Beach Round Robin||+46 points||24 points|
|73||Sep 5, 1955||Insurance City Open||−15 (66-68-66-69=269)||7 strokes|
|74||Dec 11, 1955||Miami Open||−9 (70-67-64=201)||Playoff|
|75||Apr 15, 1956||Greater Greensboro Open||−5 (66-69-74-70=279)||Playoff|
|76||Jun 2, 1957||Palm Beach Round Robin||+41 points||8 points|
|77||Sep 16, 1957||Dallas Open Invitational||−20 (70-60-66-68=264)||10 strokes|
|78||Jun 8, 1958||Dallas Open Invitational||−8 (67-67-69-69=272)||Playoff|
|79||Mar 27, 1960||De Soto Open Invitational||−8 (69-72-67-68=276)||1 stroke|
|80||Apr 17, 1960||Greater Greensboro Open||−14 (68-66-67-69=270)||2 strokes|
|81||May 7, 1961||Tournament of Champions||−15 (68-67-69-69=273)||7 strokes|
|82||Apr 4, 1965||Greater Greensboro Open||−11 (68-69-68-68=273)||5 strokes|
The 1937 Bing Crosby Pro-Am was reduced from 36 to 18 holes because of bad weather. The 1938 Chicago Open was reduced to 54 holes by bad weather. The 1950 Los Angeles Open was played before the Bing Crosby Pro-Am but the playoff was delayed because of bad weather and played later. The 1946 Open Championship win was not counted as a PGA Tour win at the time, but designated as such in 2002. The 1955 Miami Open was reduced to 54 holes by bad weather.
Note: this list is incomplete.
|Year||Championship||54 holes||Winning score||Margin||Runner(s)-up|
|1942||PGA Championship||n/a||2 & 1|
|1946||The Open Championship||Tied for lead||−2 (71-70-74-75=290)||4 strokes|
|1949||Masters Tournament||1 shot deficit||−6 (73-75-67-67=282)||3 strokes|
|1949||PGA Championship (2)||n/a||3 & 2|
|1951||PGA Championship (3)||n/a||7 & 6|
|1952||Masters Tournament (2)||Tied for lead||−2 (70-67-77-72=286)||4 strokes|
|1954||Masters Tournament (3)||3 shot deficit||+1 (74-73-70-72=289)||Playoff 1|
Note: The PGA Championship was match play until 1958.
1 Defeated Ben Hogan in 18-hole playoff – Snead 70 (−2), Hogan 71 (−1)
|The Open Championship||T11|
|The Open Championship||NT||NT||NT||NT||NT||NT||1|
|The Open Championship|
|The Open Championship||T6||CUT|
|The Open Championship||CUT|
|The Open Championship|
NT = no tournament
WD = withdrew
CUT = missed the half-way cut
"T" indicates a tie for a place
R64, R32, R16, QF, SF = Round in which player lost in PGA Championship match play
|The Open Championship||1||0||0||1||2||3||5||3|
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