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 18-karat gold medallions, for wins in PGA of America sanctioned 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 in 1967
|Full name||Samuel Jackson Snead|
|Born||May 27, 1912|
Ashwood, Virginia, U.S.
|Died||May 23, 2002 (aged 89)|
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 (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|
|World Golf Hall of Fame||1974 (member page)|
leading money winner
|1938, 1949, 1950|
|PGA Golfer of the Year||1949|
|Vardon Trophy||1938, 1949, 1950, 1955|
|PGA Tour Lifetime|
|Years of service||1942–1944|
Snead's nickname was "The Slammer - Slammin' Sammy Snead - 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 inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1974, and received the PGA Tour Lifetime Achievement Award in 1998. Snead was also inducted into the PGA of America Hall of Fame.
Born in Ashwood, Virginia, near Hot Springs, Snead began caddying at age seven at The Homestead in Hot Springs. He worked as an assistant pro at The Homestead at 19 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.
In 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, pro Clem Weichman by 16 strokes (74-73). Later that summer, 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 Tour, he won five events, including the Oakland Open at Claremont Country Club in California. 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. (The record was tied by Tiger Woods in 2013 when Woods won his eighth Arnold Palmer Invitational.) 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.
The year 1939 was the first of several times where Snead failed at crucial moments of the U.S. Open, the only major event he never won. Needing par to win, 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. Snead had been told on the 18th tee by a spectator that he needed a birdie to win.
During World War II, Snead was prevented in participating in eleven major championships, due to their cancellation.
In 1950, he 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 until broken by Tiger Woods in 2000.
Snead won the Vardon Trophy, for lowest scoring average, four times: 1938, 1949, 1950, and 1955.
At the 1952 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."
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.
In 1965, Snead became the oldest player (52 years, 10 months and 8 days) to win on the PGA Tour (the Greater Greensboro Open).
He played on eight Ryder Cup teams, including: 1937, 1947, 1949, 1951, 1953, 1955, and 1959. He captained the team in 1951, 1959, and 1969.
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 #18 to deny Sam the victory.
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 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 1986, he was inducted into the Middle Atlantic PGA Hall of Fame.
In 1998, he received the PGA Tour Lifetime Achievement Award, the fourth person to be so honored.
Snead wrote several golf instructional books, and frequently wrote instructional columns in golf magazines. His 1962 autobiography was titled The Education of a Golfer.
In 2016, Snead was the unanimous top choice for inclusion in the Virginia Golf Hall of Fame's inaugural class.
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:
- Most PGA Tour victories: 82
- Most PGA Tour victories at an event: 8 at the Greater Greensboro Open (1938, 1946, 1949, 1950, 1955, 1956, 1960, 1965); tied by Tiger Woods at the 2013 Arnold Palmer Invitational and 2013 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational
- Oldest player to win a PGA Tour event: age 52 years, 10 months, 8 days at the 1965 Greater Greensboro Open
- By winning the 1960 De Soto Open Invitational, became the first player to win PGA Tour titles in four different decades (since matched by Raymond Floyd and Davis Love III)
- Oldest player to make the cut at a major: age 67 years, 2 months, 7 days at the 1979 PGA Championship
- First PGA Tour player to shoot his age: 67 in the second round of the 1979 Quad Cities Open
- Oldest player to make a cut on the PGA Tour: age 67 years, 2 months, 21 days at the 1979 Manufacturers Hanover Westchester Classic.
- Only player to post a top-10 finish in at least one major championship in five different decades.
Professional wins (141)Edit
PGA Tour credited wins (82)Edit
- 1936 (1) West Virginia Closed Pro
- 1937 (5) Oakland Open, Bing Crosby Pro-Am, St. Paul Open, Nassau Open, Miami Open (Dec.)
- 1938 (8) Bing Crosby Pro-Am, Greater Greensboro Open, Chicago Open, Canadian Open, Westchester 108 Hole Open, White Sulphur Springs Open, Inverness Invitational Four-Ball (with Vic Ghezzi), Palm Beach Round Robin
- 1939 (3) St. Petersburg Open, Miami Open, Miami Biltmore International Four-Ball (with Ralph Guldahl)
- 1940 (3) Canadian Open, Anthracite Open, Inverness Invitational Four-Ball (with Ralph Guldahl)
- 1941 (6) Bing Crosby Pro-Am, St. Petersburg Open, North and South Open, Canadian Open, Rochester Times Union Open, Henry Hurst Invitational
- 1942 (2) St. Petersburg Open, PGA Championship
- 1944 (2) Portland Open, Richmond Open
- 1945 (6) Los Angeles Open, Gulfport Open, Pensacola Open, Jacksonville Open, Dallas Open, Tulsa Open
- 1946 (6) Jacksonville Open, Greater Greensboro Open, The Open Championship (not counted as a PGA Tour win at the time, but designated as such in 2002), World Championship of Golf, Miami Open, Virginia Open
- 1948 (1) Texas Open
- 1949 (6) Greater Greensboro Open, Masters Tournament, Washington Star Open, Dapper Dan Open, Western Open, PGA Championship
- 1950 (11) Los Angeles Open, Bing Crosby Pro-Am (tie with Jack Burke, Jr., Smiley Quick, Dave Douglas), Texas Open, Miami Beach Open, Greater Greensboro Open, Western Open, Colonial National Invitation, Inverness Invitational Four-Ball (with Jim Ferrier), Reading Open, North and South Open, Miami Open
- 1951 (2) PGA Championship, Miami Open
- 1952 (5) Masters Tournament, Palm Beach Round Robin, Inverness Invitational Four-Ball (with Jim Ferrier), All American Open, Eastern Open
- 1953 (1) Baton Rouge Open
- 1954 (2) Masters Tournament, Palm Beach Round Robin
- 1955 (4) Greater Greensboro Open, Palm Beach Round Robin, Insurance City Open, Miami Open
- 1956 (1) Greater Greensboro Open
- 1957 (2) Dallas Open Invitational, Palm Beach Round Robin
- 1958 (1) Dallas Open Invitational
- 1960 (2) De Soto Open Invitational, Greater Greensboro Open
- 1961 (1) Tournament of Champions
- 1965 (1) Greater Greensboro Open
Major championships are shown in bold.
LPGA Tour wins (1)Edit
Other wins (44)Edit
- 1936 West Virginia Open
- 1937 West Virginia Open
- 1938 West Virginia Open
- 1940 Ontario Open (Canada)
- 1941 Center Open (Argentina)
- 1941 St Augustine Pro-am (with Wilford Wehrle)
- 1942 St Augustine Pro-am (with Wilford Wehrle)
- 1948 West Virginia Open, Havana Invitational
- 1949 North and South Open, West Virginia Open, National Celebrities Open
- 1952 West Virginia Open, Brazil Open, Greenbrier Pro-Am, Julius Boros Open, Seminole Pro-am
- 1953 Greenbrier Pro-Am, Orlando International Mixed Best Ball (with Betty MacKinnon)
- 1954 Panama Open
- 1955 McNaughtons Pro-am
- 1956 Canada Cup (with Ben Hogan), Boca Raton Open
- 1957 West Virginia Open
- 1958 West Virginia Open, Greenbrier Invitational
- 1959 Sam Snead Festival, EL Dorado Professional (tied with Doug Ford)
- 1960 West Virginia Open, Canada Cup (with Arnold Palmer)
- 1961 West Virginia Open, Sam Snead Festival, Canada Cup (with Jimmy Demaret), Canada Cup – International Trophy
- 1962 Canada Cup (with Arnold Palmer)
- 1964 Haig & Haig Scotch Foursome (with Shirley Englehorn)
- 1966 West Virginia Open
- 1967 West Virginia Open
- 1968 West Virginia Open
- 1970 West Virginia Open
- 1971 PGA Club Professional Championship, West Virginia Open
- 1972 West Virginia Open
- 1973 West Virginia Open
Note: this list is incomplete.
Senior wins (14)Edit
- 1964 PGA Seniors' Championship, World Senior Championship
- 1965 PGA Seniors' Championship, World Senior Championship
- 1967 PGA Seniors' Championship
- 1970 PGA Seniors' Championship, World Senior Championship
- 1972 PGA Seniors' Championship, World Senior Championship
- 1973 PGA Seniors' Championship, World Senior Championship
- 1978 Legends of Golf (with Gardner Dickinson)
- 1980 Golf Digest Commemorative Pro-Am
- 1982 Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf (with Don January)
|Year||Championship||54 holes||Winning score||Margin||Runner(s)-up|
|1942||PGA Championship||n/a||2 & 1||Jim Turnesa|
|1946||The Open Championship||Tied for lead||−2 (71-70-74-75=290)||4 strokes||Johnny Bulla, Bobby Locke|
|1949||Masters Tournament||1 shot deficit||−6 (73-75-67-67=282)||3 strokes||Johnny Bulla, Lloyd Mangrum|
|1949||PGA Championship (2)||n/a||3 & 2||Johnny Palmer|
|1951||PGA Championship (3)||n/a||7 & 6||Walter Burkemo|
|1952||Masters Tournament (2)||Tied for lead||−2 (70-67-77-72=286)||4 strokes||Jack Burke, Jr.|
|1954||Masters Tournament (3)||3 shot deficit||+1 (74-73-70-72=289)||Playoff 1||Ben Hogan|
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|
- Most consecutive cuts made – 55 (1937 Masters – 1958 Masters)
- Longest streak of top-10s – 6 (1948 U.S. Open – 1950 Masters)
U.S. national team appearancesEdit
- Ryder Cup: 1937 (winners), 1947 (winners), 1949 (winners), 1951 (winners, playing captain), 1953 (winners), 1955 (winners), 1959 (winners, playing captain), 1969 (tied, non-playing captain)
- Canada Cup: 1954, 1956 (winners), 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960 (winners), 1961 (winners, individual winner), 1962 (winners)
- "Sam Snead, Golf Legend". Rob Sinclair reporting for Global Sports in Toronto. November 11, 2012.
- "Sam Snead's son keeps his father's memory alive by telling stories". PGA of America. January 31, 2016.
- Livsey, Laury (April 16, 2019). "How we got to 82". PGA Tour.
- Apfelbaum, Jim, ed. (2007). The Gigantic Book of Golf Quotations. New York: Skyhorse Publishing. ISBN 978-1-60239-014-0.
- Kelley, Brent, ed. (May 24, 2019). "Sam Snead Quotes". Retrieved July 8, 2019.
- "Middle Atlantic PGA – Hall of Fame – Sam Snead (1986)". PGA Mid Atlantic Section. Retrieved July 16, 2019.
- "Tom Watson Declines Offer to Join PGA of America Hall of Fame". Golf. September 28, 2015. Retrieved July 16, 2019.
- Moss, Richard J. (June 1, 2013). The Kingdom of Golf in America. U of Nebraska Press. p. 188. ISBN 978-0-8032-4680-5. Retrieved October 31, 2013.
- May, Mike. "Golf @ The Boca Resort: Living, Breathing History". Go Golf and Travel.
- Barkow, Al (1986). Gettin' to the Dance Floor: An Oral History of American Golf. New York: Atheneum. ISBN 978-0-689-11517-2.
- "Sam Snead discharged from navy". St. Petersburg Times. Associated Press. September 13, 1944. p. 6.
- "The Colonel Breaks Par". IMBd.
- Kelley, Brent. "Largest Margin of Victory on the PGA Tour". About.com. Retrieved January 16, 2015.
- Kelley, Brent. "Oldest PGA Tour Winners". About.com. Retrieved March 20, 2013.
- Ray, Justin. "Sam Snead's legacy all over record books". ESPN. Retrieved March 20, 2013.
- "1949 PGA Golfer of the Year Award Plaque from The Sam Snead Collection". November 28, 1949. Retrieved July 20, 2019.
- "Winners of the PGA Tour and PGA of America Player of the Year Awards". Golf News Net. Retrieved July 20, 2019.
- "Victory Records". PGA Tour. June 3, 2006. Archived from the original on January 3, 2006. Retrieved June 5, 2012.
- Kelley, Brent. "Lowest PGA Tour Vardon Trophy Scoring Averages". About.com. Retrieved March 20, 2013.
- "Ford Gets First Major Golf Win". Reading Eagle. Reading, Pennsylvania. United Press. March 25, 1952. p. 17. Retrieved March 20, 2013.
- "Sam Snead Forfeits First in Jacksonville Open". The Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. Associated Press. March 25, 1952. p. 12. Retrieved March 20, 2013.
- "Sponsor Cancels After Snead TV Golf Incident". The Victoria Advocate. Victoria, Texas. Associated Press. April 9, 1960. p. 9. Retrieved March 20, 2013.
- Taylor, Dick (February 8, 1962). "It's Sam In Rally By Five". The Palm Beach Post. West Palm Beach, Florida. p. 13. Retrieved March 20, 2013.
- Sobel, Jason (February 7, 2015). "Slammin' Sam the only man with LPGA victory". Golf Channel. Retrieved September 26, 2016.
- "Virginia Sports Hall of Fame & Museum – Sam Snead". Archived from the original on March 23, 2014. Retrieved July 31, 2013.
- "Snead inducted onto the Middle Atlantic PGA Hall of Fame". Retrieved July 15, 2019.
- Yocom, Guy (July 2000). "50 Greatest Golfers of All Time: And What They Taught Us". Golf Digest. Archived from the original on September 16, 2004. Retrieved December 5, 2007.
- "Snead, Campbell inducted into W.Va. Golf Hall". USA Today. August 3, 2009.
- "West Virginia Golf Hall of Fame – Class of 2009 – Samuel J. Snead". August 3, 2009. Retrieved July 16, 2019 – via YouTube.
- "Samuel J. Snead - 2009". WVGA. August 3, 2009. Retrieved July 17, 2019.
- "Sam Snead". Virginia Golf Hall of Fame. Retrieved July 16, 2019.
- "Historical Rules of Golf, 1968". ruleshistory.com. January 1, 1968. Retrieved October 19, 2013.
- "1946 Sam Snead". The Open. Archived from the original on October 16, 2013. Retrieved October 17, 2013.
- Barkow, Al (November 1989). The History of the PGA TOUR. Doubleday. pp. 259–60. ISBN 0-385-26145-4.