scotch foursome

Sam Snead


Sam Snead
Personal Information
Ashwood, Virginia
Height 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Weight 190 lb (86 kg)
Turned Pro 1934
Retired 1979
Professional wins (165)
PGA Tour 82 (1st all time)
Champions Tour 14
Other 70
Best Results in Major Championships
Wins: 7
Masters Won 1949, 1952, 1954
U.S. Open 2nd/T2: 1937, 1947, 1949, 1953
British Open Won 1946
PGA Championship Won 1942, 1949, 1951
PGA Tour
Money Winner
1938, 1949, 1950
Player of the Year
Vardon Trophy 1938, 1949, 1950, 1955

Samuel Jackson "Sam" Snead (May 27, 1912May 23, 2002) was an American golfer who was one of the top players in the world for most of 4 decades. He and two others of the greatest golfers of all time, Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson, were born within six months of each other in 1912. He won a record 82 PGA Tour events and about 70 others worldwide. He won seven majors: three Masters, three PGA Championships and one British Open. Despite his great achievements, his reputation has always been slightly tainted by his failure to win a U.S. Open. Snead shares the record for most second-place finishes in that championship (4) with four others; Bobby Jones, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, and Phil Mickelson.

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. His nickname was "Slammin' Sammy." He has also been admired by many for having the so-called "perfect swing," and generated many imitators.

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.

Snead won the PGA Tour Lifetime Achievement Award in 1998, and has been inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1974.


In 1937, his 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, which he won eight times, the Tour record for victories at an event, concluding in 1965 at the age of 52 years, 10 months, 8 days, making him the oldest player to win a PGA Tour event.

1939 was the first of several times he failed at crucial moments of the U.S. Open, the only major event he never won. He won 11 events in 1950. 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.

During his peak years, he 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 shortly afterwards, 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.

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 fourth PGA Tour Lifetime Achievement Award.

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.


From official PGA Tour site

He 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.

PGA Tour wins (82)

Major championships are shown in bold.


Other wins

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 2 strokes Jim Turnesa
1946 The Open Championship Tied for lead -2 (71-70-74-75=290) 4 strokes Johnny Bulla, Bobby Locke
1949 The Masters 1 stroke deficit -6 (73-75-67-67=282) 3 strokes Johnny Bulla, Lloyd Mangrum
1949 PGA Championship (2) N/A 3 & 2 3 strokes Johnny Palmer
1951 PGA Championship (3) N/A 7 & 6 7 strokes Walter Burkemo
1952 The Masters (2) Tied for lead -2 (70-67-77-72=286) 4 strokes Jack Burke, Jr.
1954 The Masters (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), 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 F 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 F 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
R## — Round of 16, 32, etc. The PGA Championship was conducted at match play before 1958.
QF — Quarterfinal
SF — Semifinal
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, promting 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."
  • West Coast rapper Snoop Dogg paid tribute to Sam Snead in his song of the same title.
  • 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


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