Sam Snead - U.S.A. - Outline of his golfing career.

Photo/Foto: George Herringshaw

Date: 15 July 1976

Click on image to enlarge

      Monday, 27 May 1912
      Hot Springs, U.S.A. Died May 23rd. 2002. Aged 89.
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Sam SNEAD - U.S.A. - Outline of his golfing career.

                                                             The early years.        


Sam Snead was still playing on the US Tour well into his sixties (see photo above) and it is fair to say that no other golfer has enjoyed such a long and fruitful career as the man from Hot Springs,Virginia. Snead's 81 PGA Tour victories is a record unlikely to be beaten and he is also credited with 135 tournament wins world-wide,although the man himself claims it to be nearer 165. Snead won seven majors during his illustrious career but he was never to claim victory in the US Open. He came agonisingly close on numerous occasions,including his first appearance in 1937,when he finished in second place,just two strokes behind the winner Ralph Guldahl.


Two years later at the Masters it was that man Guldahl who stood in his way once again,this time victorious by just one shot,and at the US Open that year there was a fifth place finish. That does not tell the whole story,however,as going up the par-5 last Sam needed just a five to claim victory but,feeling that he need to make a birdie,tried to hard and finished with an eight on his card. Snead won his first major with his success at the 1942 PGA Championship at Seaview,New Jersey with a 2&1 triumph over Jim Turnesa.


Four years later Sam won the first post-war Open,his rounds of 71,70,74 & 75 leaving him on a total of 290,and four shots clear of his nearest rivals Johnny Bulla and Bobby Locke in an event played over the Old Course at St Andrews. Despite his victory Sam claimed that he cared little for the event,the course,the prize money,the food or even his caddie! Hardly surprising,then,that it would be 16 years before he returned to play in the event. (David Scranage).

The later years.

In 1947 there was yet another near miss at the US Open,Snead going down in an 18-hole play-off to Lew Worsham by just one stroke with the two men shooting 69 & 70 respectively. He won his third major and first Masters in 1949,despite starting the tournament with rounds of 73 and 75. Sam finished in style with two rounds of 67 to claim a three stroke victory from Johnny Bulla and Lloyd Mangrum. Later that year Snead lifted his second PGA title courtesy of a 3&2 victory over Johnny Palmer in the 36 hole final.


The US Open continued to slip though his grasp,however,and he had to settle for yet another second place in 1949 to go along with his runner-up spots of 1937 & '47. The PGA was captured for a third time in 1951,Walter Burkemo on the end of a 7&6 defeat in the final,whilst the following year Sam captured his second Green Jacket. He was the only man under par in an event affected on the final two days by high winds,his total of 286 leaving him four shots to the good of Jack Burke jnr.


The US Open eluded him yet again in 1953,but the following year he won his seventh and last major when victorious at the Masters for the third time. Snead was level on 289 with the legendary Ben Hogan after four rounds,but in the 18 hole play-off the following day it was Sam who edged victory by the narrowest of margins,with a 70 compared to Hogan's 71. Snead played in seven Ryder Cup's between 1937-1959 and boasted a fine record of ten wins,one half and two losses in his thirteen matches. In 1951,'59 and '69 he was afforded the honour of captaining the American team. Sam Snead's achievement of winning on the US Tour in four different decades is a record matched only by Ray Floyd.


He is also the oldest man to win a tour event,at nearly 53,and in the 1974 PGA Championship Snead finished tied for third place at the age of 62. In 1979at the age of 67,Sam shot rounds of 73,71,71 and 73 in the PGA Championship to finish ahead of the likes of Jack Nicklaus and Ray Floyd. He will quite rightly be remembered as one of the true legends of the game. (David Scranage)