“Slammin’ Sammy” Snead is one of the sub-class of professional golfers whose personality almost eclipses their talent. He was a country boy from near Hot Springs, Va., and he lived at Hot Springs most of his life. He was a part of one of the most competitive threesomes ever to play the sport, with Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson. Nelson was the gentleman, Hogan the iconoclast, and Snead the class clown.
But he was an incredible golfer. He won an incredible 82 PGA Tour events, a record that still stands. He won three Masters, three PGA Championships, and one British Open. His one professional disappointment was never winning the U.S. Open. He certainly had his chances – he finished in second place four times. He has the record for most tournaments won in a single year, 11. He played on seven Ryder Cup teams, and was a three-time captain.
Snead had a beautiful swing that was often emulated. He loved long drives, a major part of his game, especially when his putting began to let him down as he grew older. Slammin’ Sammy is a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame, and received the PGA Tour Lifetime Achievement Award in 1998.