Born: May 27, 1912 in Hot Springs, Va.
Died: May 23, 2002
Nickname: "Slammin Sam," or just "Slammer"
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
• 3-time captain of U.S. Ryder Cup team
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
Sam Snead won 82 PGA Tour events, more than anyone else, and he did it with a remarkably fluid and graceful swing. "The most fluid motion ever to grace a golf course," Jack Nicklaus said. "Watching Sam Snead practice hitting balls," another golfer said, "is like watching a fish practice swimming."
Snead grew up in backwoods Virginia during the Depression and taught himself to play golf using clubs carved from tree limbs by his father. He never lost sight of his home, returning to Virginia throughout his life.
Snead was an extremely gifted athlete, so gifted that even into his 70’s he could still kick the top of a door frame. He had a folksy image embellished by his trademark straw hat and homespun wit.
Snead burst onto the PGA Tour in 1937, wowing with long drives that earned him the nickname "Slammin' Sam," and winning five times. The following year he won 8 tournaments and the money title.
In 1942, he won his first major at the PGA Championship. He would go on to win the PGA three times total, one British Open, and three Masters (including a memorable 18-hole playoff victory over Ben Hogan in 1954).
In 1950, Snead won 11 times, the last PGA Tour golfer to post double-digit victories in a single season.
While Snead won seven majors, he never could win the U.S. Open, although he finished second four times. In 1939, needing par to win, he posted an 8 on the 72nd hole. In 1949, Snead missed a 2 1/2-foot putt on the final playoff hole to lose to Lew Worsham.
His record in 8 Ryder Cups was a sterling 10-2-1, and he captained three Ryder Cup teams.
Snead was one of the best "old" golfers ever, remaining competitive into his 60’s. At age 62 he finished third in the 1974 PGA Championship; at age 67, he posted rounds of 67 and 66 at the Quad Cities Open. He also won 6 PGA Seniors titles and 5 World Seniors Championships.
In 1983, at age 71, he shot 60 at his home course, The Homestead.
Sam Snead was elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1974.