Sam Snead facts for kids
Quick facts for kidsSam Snead
Snead in 1967
|Full name||Samuel Jackson Snead|
May 27, 1912|
Ashwood, Virginia, U.S.
|Died||May 23, 2002
Hot Springs, Virginia, U.S.
|Height||5 ft 11 in|
|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
|The Masters Tournament||Won: 1949, 1952, 1954|
|U.S. Open||2nd/T2: 1937, 1947, 1949, 1953|
|The Open Championship||Won: 1946|
|PGA Championship||Won: 1942, 1949, 1951|
|Achievements and awards|
|World Golf Hall of Fame||1974|
leading money winner
|1938, 1949, 1950|
|PGA Player of the Year||1949|
|Vardon Trophy||1938, 1949, 1950, 1955|
|PGA Tour Lifetime
|Years of service||1942–1944|
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 and one of the greatest players of all time. Snead won a record 82 PGA Tour events, including seven majors. He never won the U.S. Open, though he was runner-up four times.
Snead's nickname was "Slammin' Sammy", 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." He was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1974, and received the PGA Tour Lifetime Achievement Award in 1998.
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. 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 head pro at The Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, and maintained ties to Hot Springs and The Homestead all of his life.
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 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.
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.
Also in 1937, 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.
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.
At the U.S. Open in 1947, Snead missed a 30-inch (76 cm) putt on the final playoff hole to lose to Lew Worsham.
In 1950, he won 11 events, placing him third in that category behind Byron Nelson (18, in 1945) and Ben Hogan (13, in 1946). 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.
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.
He played on seven Ryder Cup teams: 1937, 1947, 1949, 1951, 1953, 1955, and 1959. He captained the team in 1951, 1959, and 1969.
In 1971, he won the PGA Club Professional Championship at Pinehurst Resort.
He was inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame in 1973
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 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 1983, at age 71, he shot a round of 60 (12-under-par) at 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. His 1962 autobiography was titled The Education of a Golfer.
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 held the record for most PGA Tour wins after reaching age 40, with 17, until the record was broken at the 2007 Mercedes-Benz Championship by Vijay Singh.
In 2009, Snead was inducted into the West Virginia Golf Hall of Fame.
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.