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FULL NAME: Samuel Jackson Snead
NICKNAME: Slammin' Sam ,Slammer
BIRTHDATE: May 27, 1912
BIRTHPLACE: Hot Springs, VA
DEATH: May 23, 2002

 


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SAM SNEAD

Known as 'Slammin Sam' because of his lengthy drives, Sam Snead was also blessed with a beautifully smooth swing. It brought him an outstanding 84 victories on the American tour and a further 80 worldwide. Amazingly the US Open always eluded him - he finished second four times between 1937 and 1949.

The son of a poor Virginian backwoods farmer, Snead lived a childhood typical of any boy growing up amidst the heavily wooded Virginian mountains. Days were spent hunting, fishing and in Snead's case, caddying at the local resort hotel in order to supplement his family's income .

Snead's older brother, Homer, was a fan of golf so he decided to try it. To his surprise, he found the technicalities quite easy to master. However his boyhood dream of being a football star held form and it was only when a back injury forced him to re-assess his ambition, that Snead began considering the prospect of a golfing career.

The world caught it's first glimpse of Snead's magic stroke at Hershey in 1936 . After nervously driving his first two balls out of bounds, he hit the first green 345 yards away and eventually managed to finish fifth. Desperately short of cash, a good finish at his fourth official event at Oakland earned him US$1,200. In the early years of his career, he was still quite doubtful about the long term financial viability of the golfing profession and so was quite cautious in his spending habits. It was from those early days that Snead's reputation for penny-pinching arose. An unfair accusation when his poor background is considered .

Because the nuances of the game came to him so easily, Snead never felt the need for marathon sessions on the range. Many are of the opinion that he often played below his potential. Snead admits that his approach to the game has been quite relaxed yet points to his record to show that his own unique philosophy towards it has served him well.

In contrast to his honey sweet stroke, Snead's up-front verbal manner has occasionally let him down. Never a fan of British courses, Snead was quite vocal in his denunciation of the country's golf facilities. In fact in 1946 because of contractual obligations to a sponsor, he was forced to play the Open. However his stay at St. Andrews probably softened his criticisms as he won the event for the first and last time that year- although he did compete again in 1962.

In 1979, he became the first player to score below his age; he shot 67 and 66 in the Quad Cities Open at the age of 67. Other notable achievements include victories in the US Masters in 1949, 1952 and 1954 plus the US PGA titles in 1942, 1949 and 1951. Eight times on the Ryder Cup squad, once as non-playing captain, Snead's involvement in golf has been a lengthy one. Two years after retiring from the Tour in 1979, he was actively involved in the creation of the Senior's Tour. .

A consistent competitor, Snead will be remembered for the shear magnitude of his victories and his swing will continue to be recalled with awe and envy

Tour Victories
82
(Snead won an estimated 160 professional tournaments in all.)

Major Championships
7
• Masters: 1949, 1952, 1954
• British Open: 1946
• PGA Championship: 1942, 1949, 1951

Awards and Honors
• Member, World Golf Hall of Fame
• Recipient, PGA Tour Lifetime Achievement Award
• 3-time PGA Tour money leader
• 4-time PGA Tour Vardon Trophy winner
• Member of 8 U.S. Ryder Cup teams
• 3-time captain of U.S. Ryder Cup team

Quote
Sam Snead: "Keep close count of your nickels and dimes, stay away from whiskey, and never concede a putt."

Sam Snead: "If a lot of people gripped a knife and fork the way they do a golf club, they'd starve to death."

Sam Snead: "Thinking instead of acting is the number-one golf disease."

Sam Snead: "Practice puts brains in your muscles."

Tim Finchem: "No one will ever duplicate Sam Snead. No one will ever surpass Sam Snead because he was so unique."

Trivia
• Sam Snead holds the PGA Tour record for most wins in a single event. He won the Greater Greensboro Open eight times, the first in 1938 and the last in 1965 when he was 52 (making him the oldest player to win a PGA Tour event).

• Snead won 27 times on tour before getting his first major championship title.

• From 1984 to 2002, Snead hit the honorary opening tee shot at The Masters. He was joined by Byron Nelson until 2001 and by Gene Sarazen until 1999.

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