Legendary Sam Snead dies aged 89
by Associated Press
The golfing world mourns the passing of one of its most talented players today, four days short of what would have been his 90th birthday.
"Slammin' Sam" Snead, who won 81 tournaments on the US PGA Tour, more than anyone else, died early this morning at his home in Hot Springs Virginia. He had been suffering from a series of strokes since performing his duties as honorary starter at The Masters, earlier this year.
Snead, who grew up in the depression, had no formal teaching and yet developed a swing to marvel at, and it lasted him a lifetime. "I don't think there's ever been a golf swing as aesthetically pleasing as Sam Snead's," Phil Mickelson said from the Memorial Tournament.
Amazingly he won official regular and senior PGA Tour events in six consecutve decades. He also became the first player on the US Tour to shoot his age in a sanctioned event, only to go one shot lower two days later!
A three time winner at The Masters, Snead won all of the Grand Slam tournaments with the exception of the US Open, which became a jinxed tournament for him. In 1939, he led the tournament by a stroke with the final hole to play, but as there were no scoreboards on which to check his position, Snead played aggresively for a birdie, when just a par would have been sufficient. In the end, after driving into the rough, Snead took a triple bogey.
But Sam Snead represented more than a virtually unending record of tournament victories. He had a vivacious personality and wit that was infectious. After starting The Masters at Augusta each year, Snead would retire to the clubhouse porch and tell stories to all and sundry. Many current players on the world scene have taken up the invitation to spend a day with Sam Snead at the club he owned at Greenbrier, Virginia.
One of those players, John Schlee, who was runner-up in the 1973 US Open, summed up the Snead golfing legacy to a tee "Watching Sam Snead practice hitting golf balls is like watching a fish practice swimming,"
The golfing world will sadly miss "Slammin' Sammy" Snead.