Sam Snead: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sam Snead
Personal information
Full name Samuel Jackson Snead
Nickname Slammin' Sammy
Born May 27, 1912(1912-05-27)
Ashwood, Virginia
Died May 23, 2002 (aged 89)
Hot Springs, Virginia
Height 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Weight 185 lb (84 kg; 13.2 st)
Nationality  United States
Turned professional 1934
Retired 1979
Former tour(s) PGA Tour
Professional wins 165
Number of wins by tour
PGA Tour 82 (1st all time)
Other 70 (regular)
14 (senior)
Best results in Major Championships
(Wins: 7)
The Masters Won: 1949, 1952, 1954
U.S. Open 2nd/T2: 1937, 1947, 1949, 1953
Open Championship Won: 1946
PGA Championship Won: 1942, 1949, 1951
Achievements and awards
World Golf Hall of Fame 1974 (member page)
PGA Tour
leading money winner
1938, 1949, 1950
PGA Player of the Year 1949
Vardon Trophy 1938, 1949, 1950, 1955
PGA Tour Lifetime
Achievement Award

Samuel Jackson Snead (May 27, 1912 – May 23, 2002) was an American professional golfer who was one of the top players in the world for most of four decades. He and two of the other greatest golfers of all time, Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson, were born within six months of each other in 1912. Snead won a record 82 PGA Tour events.

Snead won seven majors: three Masters, three PGA Championships and one British Open. But his reputation has always been slightly tarnished by his failure to win a U.S. Open. Snead used to share the record for most second-place finishes in that championship (four) with four others; Bobby Jones, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, and Phil Mickelson. After the 2009 U.S. Open, Mickelson became the all-time leader with five second place finishes.

Snead's nickname was "Slammin' Sammy." He was admired by many for having the so-called "perfect swing," and generated many imitators. Snead was famed for his folksy image, wearing a straw hat, playing tournaments barefoot, and making such statements as "Keep close count of your nickels and dimes, stay away from whiskey, and never concede a putt."[1] He was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1974, and received the PGA Tour Lifetime Achievement Award in 1998.



Snead was born in Ashwood, Virginia near Hot Springs, Virginia. At the age of seven, he began caddying at The Homestead in Hot Springs; he worked as an assistant pro at The Homestead at 19, and became a professional in 1934. Snead maintained ties to Hot Springs and The Homestead for all of his life; he died in Hot Springs following complications from a stroke four days short of his 90th birthday. He was survived by two sons, Sam Jr., of Hot Springs, Virginia and Terry, of Mountain Grove, Virginia; a brother, Pete, of Pittsburgh; and two grandchildren. His wife, Audrey, died in 1990. His nephew J. C. Snead was also a PGA Tour golfer.


In 1937, Snead's first year on the Tour, he won five events, including the Oakland Open at Claremont Country Club in California.

In 1938, he first won the Greater Greensboro Open. He won that event a total of eight times, the Tour record, concluding in 1965 at the age of &0000000000000052.00000052 years, &0000000000000311.000000311 days, making him the oldest player to win a PGA Tour event.[2]

1939 was the first of several times he failed at crucial moments of the U.S. Open, the only major event he never won. Needing par to win, he posted an 8 on the 72nd hole. At the U.S. Open in 1949, Snead missed a 2 1/2-foot putt on the final playoff hole to lose to Lew Worsham.

In 1950, he won 11 events. No one has since won more in one year. He won the Vardon Trophy for lowest scoring average four times: 1938, 1949, 1950, and 1955. He played on seven Ryder Cup teams: 1937, 1947, 1949, 1951, 1953, 1955, and 1959, and captained the team in 1951, 1959, and 1969.

In 1971, he won the PGA Club Professional Championship.

In 1974, at age 62, he shot a one-under-par 279 to come in third, three strokes behind winner Lee Trevino at the PGA Championship at Tanglewood in Clemmons, North Carolina.

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 known as 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 1983, at age 71, he shot a round of 60 (12-under-par) at the The Homestead in Hot Springs, Virginia.

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. Until 1999, he was joined by Gene Sarazen, and until 2001, by Byron Nelson.

Snead wrote several golf instructional books, and frequently wrote instructional columns in golf magazines.

In 2000, he was ranked the third greatest golfer of all time, in Golf Digest magazine's rankings. Jack Nicklaus was first, and Ben Hogan was second.[3]

Snead was inducted into the West Virginia Golf Hall of Fame in 2009 with William C. Campbell.[4]

Playing style

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, his putting deteriorated. 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[5], 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.


From official PGA Tour site.

Snead also held the record for most PGA Tour wins after reaching age 40, with 17, until it was broken at the 2007 Mercedes-Benz Championship by Vijay Singh.

Professional wins (165)


PGA Tour wins (82)

Major championships are shown in bold.[6]

Other wins

Note: this list is incomplete.

Senior wins (14)

Major championships

Wins (7)

Year Championship 54 Holes Winning Score Margin Runner(s)-up
1942 PGA Championship n/a 2 & 1 n/a United States Jim Turnesa
1946 The Open Championship Tied for lead -2 (71-70-74-75=290) 4 strokes United States Johnny Bulla, South Africa Bobby Locke
1949 The Masters 1 shot deficit -6 (73-75-67-67=282) 3 strokes United States Johnny Bulla, United States Lloyd Mangrum
1949 PGA Championship (2) n/a 3 & 2 n/a United States Johnny Palmer
1951 PGA Championship (3) n/a 7 & 6 n/a United States Walter Burkemo
1952 The Masters (2) Tied for lead -2 (70-67-77-72=286) 4 strokes United States Jack Burke, Jr.
1954 The Masters (3) 3 shot deficit +1 (74-73-70-72=289) Playoff 1 United States Ben Hogan

Note: The PGA Championship was match play until 1958.
1 Defeated Ben Hogan in 18-hole playoff - Snead (70), Hogan (71)

Results timeline

Tournament 1937 1938 1939
The Masters 18 T31 2
U.S. Open 2 T38 5
The Open Championship T11 DNP DNP
PGA Championship R16 2 DNP
Tournament 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 1946 1947 1948 1949
The Masters T7 T6 T7 NT NT NT T7 T22 T16 1
U.S. Open T16 T13 NT NT NT NT T19 2 5 T2
The Open Championship NT NT NT NT NT NT 1 DNP DNP DNP
PGA Championship 2 QF 1 NT DNP DNP R32 R32 QF 1
Tournament 1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959
The Masters 3 T8 1 T15 1 3 T4 2 13 T22
U.S. Open T12 T10 T10 2 T11 T3 T24 T8 CUT T8
PGA Championship R32 1 R64 R32 QF R32 QF R16 3 T8
Tournament 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969
The Masters T11 T15 T15 T3 CUT CUT T42 T10 42 CUT
U.S. Open T19 T17 T38 T42 T34 T24 DNP DNP T9 T38
PGA Championship T3 T27 T17 T27 DNP T6 T6 DNP T34 T63
Tournament 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979
The Masters T23 CUT T27 T29 T20 WD CUT WD CUT CUT
PGA Championship T12 T34 T4 T9 T3 CUT CUT T54 DNP T42
Tournament 1980 1981 1982 1983
The Masters CUT CUT WD WD
The Open Championship DNP DNP DNP DNP
PGA Championship WD WD DNP DNP

NT = No tournament
DNP = Did not play
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
Green background for wins. Yellow background for top-10.


  • Starts - 117
  • Wins - 7
  • 2nd place finishes - 8
  • Top 3 finishes - 22
  • Top 5 finishes - 29
  • Top 10 finishes - 48
  • Longest streak of top-10s in majors - 6


  • Snead was referenced in several jokes in the Peanuts comic strip in the 1950s and 1960s. Linus van Pelt has claimed to "have always kind of admired him", and Schroeder bragged that he was "going to be the Sam Snead of music!"
  • Snead hit the Wrigley Field scoreboard with a golf ball teed off from home plate.
  • Snead once appeared in an episode of The Phil Silvers Show (Sergeant Bilko).
  • In 1987, Snead appeared opposite Tim Conway in Dorf's Golf Bible. Despite Snead's efforts, Dorf cannot follow through on even the simplest of Snead's instructions, prompting Snead's repeated pleas of "why don't you quit?"
  • According to an edition of the Book of Sports Lists, Snead made a commercial for Bromo-Seltzer in which he said, "On the day of atonement, I cannot afford to be sick." It was a while before the Jewish audience realized Sammy was not referring to Yom Kippur, but "could not pronounce 'tournament' like other white folk."
  • Snead was so flexible and coordinated that for most of his adult life, he was able to stand on one foot and kick the other foot high enough to touch the top of a seven-foot high door frame without losing his balance.

See also


External links


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address