Sam Snead, the winningest pro of all time

July 1937: American golfer Sam Snead (1912 - 2002) at the British Open in Carnoustie, Scotland. (Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)
July 1937: American golfer Sam Snead (1912 - 2002) at the British Open in Carnoustie, Scotland. (Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images) /

Sam Snead is still the gold standard that a PGA Professional’s career is measured by.

Professional golf today is the legacy of its greatest fivesome from decades past. Nicklaus, Palmer, Hogan, Nelson, and Sam Snead are the 5 founding fathers of modern golf.

I have no knowledge of the above 5 founders of the modern game ever playing together in one fivesome all at once. Can you imagine what it would of been like to gallery this group if they had? Talk about the ultimate gamble game.

Each of these Legends would have added his own contribution to such a match. Then at the end of play it likely was Sam Snead the others would be paying off in the 19th Hole. Especially if the match was played at the Old White course at Greenbriar Resort in West Virginia, site of this week’s tour stop. Snead happened to be the head pro there.

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All five Legends are known for their contributions to the modern game. Sam Snead’s legacy still is on full display as well. His 82 professional wins, including seven major championships, is still the most wins by a PGA Professional of all time; and his golf swing is still considered among the very best ever seen.

I don’t recall the first time I personally saw a clip of of Sam Snead swinging a golf club other than I froze at the pure beauty of it. Golfers of every generation since have been on a quest to emulate Snead’s iconic swing. Why not? The man still has won more tournaments than anyone who has ever played the game.

Sam Snead once shot 60 at the age of 71!

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Beyond any doubt every swing in golf today has been influenced by two players: Ben Hogan and Sam Snead. These two along with Byron Nelson were the game’s original Big 3 are the reason why golf at all levels is what it is today.

Snead was, however, Phil Mickelson before Mickelson was even a possibility to be a baby. Snead won 7 majors including the 1954 Masters over Hogan by one shot in an 18 hole playoff, but never won the U.S. Open. His 4 second place finishes were a record before Mickelson came along, as the U.S. Open trophy is the only major championship that eluded him.

Just as Hogan will forever be associated with Colonial CC in Ft Worth, Snead is with the Old White at Greenbrier. He actually was born and died in Virginia but the Appalachian area as a whole was his home his whole life. His success and loyalty to his roots remains a source of great pride to the people of this area.

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As the Greenbrier is played this week there surely will be mention of Snead numerous times. The Greenbrier Classic has become an annual tribute to the winningest golfer ever.