Famously known as the “The Slammer”, Sam Snead was born in Ashwood, Virginia and later became affiliated with and called The Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia home as its resident playing professional. Growing up, Snead was renowned for his remarkable athleticism and his “backwoods” style of play. He demonstrated this style at the 1942 Masters when he played the inward nine without shoes.
As a professional, Snead went on to become one of the most successful PGA professionals of all-time. Snead won a record setting 82 PGA victories, including seven majors: three Masters, three PGA Championships, and one British Open. The most memorable of these seven may have been his last – when he defeated Ben Hogan in an 18-hole playoff for the 1954 Masters title. The only major accolade absent from his resume is a U.S. Open. He finished second in the U.S. Open four times, one time that included a missed 30-inch putt on the last hole of the playoff. Snead led the money list three times, captured the Vardon Trophy four times, and played on seven Ryder Cup teams. Gene Sarazen once said of Snead “He is the only person who came into the game possessing every physical attribute – a sound swing, power, a sturdy physique, and no bad habits.”
Later in Snead’s playing career, he showed no signs of slowing down. At 52 years and 10 months of age, he would become the oldest winner on the PGA Tour after capturing victory at The Greater Greensboro Open in 1965. He finished fourth in the 1972 PGA Championship at age 60 and third in the 1974 PGA Championship at age 62. As a senior, he claimed six six Senior PGA Championships.
Throughout his adult life, The Slammer gave The Greenbrier Resort and the state of West Virginia great pride and notoriety. His legacy will forever be enshrined throughout the game of golf for years to come.
“Desire is the most important thing in the sport. I have it. Jeez, no one has more than I’ve got.” -The Slammer