Home / Sports / At the U.S. Open, Sam Snead Was Often a Bridesmaid

At the U.S. Open, Sam Snead Was Often a Bridesmaid

Phil Mickelson will check out once more this week at Pebble Seaside for that elusive United States Open name, which might give him the Profession Grand Slam.

His close to misses, together with Pinehurst in 1999, Winged Foot in 2006 and Merion in 2013, had been smartly chronicled. He has completed moment a file six instances.

Mickelson, who turns 49 on Sunday, is in excellent corporate. Sam Snead, who additionally used to be probably the greatest to have performed the sport, used to be not able to seize an Open. He got here in moment 4 instances: 1937, 1947, 1949 and 1953.

There used to be additionally the heartbreak of 1939.

That yr, at the Spring Mill process the Philadelphia Nation Membership, Snead, identified for his stunning swing, used to be it appears main by means of a shot going into the overall gap, a par five. Make a five, and he would in all probability be the champion.

Best Snead believed that he wanted a birdie. There have been no scoreboards then. So after hooking his force into the tough, he pulled out a two-wood as a substitute of laying up within the fairway.

The ball got here to relaxation in a bunker about 110 yards from the fairway. Now he had purpose for fear. He went with an eight-iron and ended up by means of some freshly laid sod close to the bunker’s lip. His subsequent shot discovered any other bunker.

He went directly to file a triple-bogey eight to complete 5th, two strokes in the back of Byron Nelson, Denny Shute and Craig Wooden; Nelson would succeed in a playoff.

Snead used to be beaten.

“That evening, I used to be in a position to head out with a gun and pay anyone to shoot me,” he mentioned in his e-book, “Slammin’ Sam.” “It weighed on my thoughts such a lot that I dropped 10 kilos, misplaced extra hair and started to choke up even on follow rounds.”

Speedy-forward to the 1947 Open and St. Louis Nation Membership.

With a birdie at the 72nd gap, Snead compelled an 18-hole playoff the next day to come with Lew Worsham. The 2 had been nonetheless tied as they reached the overall gap.

Snead, going through a birdie putt for the win, left the ball about 30 inches quick. He walked towards his ball to knock it in for a par.

No longer so rapid.

Worsham, additionally with a brief strive for par, requested Ike Grainger of america Golfing Affiliation to decide who will have to cross first, which Grainger did with a measuring tape.

Snead used to be no longer delighted.

“You’ll want to see the steam popping out of Sam,” mentioned James Dodson, the creator of “American Triumvirate,” a e-book about Snead, Nelson and Ben Hogan, relating to a photograph from that day. “He’s status there, the putter by means of his aspect, with this impatient stare that claims, ‘That is completely a sin towards nature.’”

As soon as Grainger determined that Snead used to be an inch farther away than Worsham, Snead went first, however neglected the putt. Worsham sank his putt for the victory.

As dissatisfied as he used to be over the lengthen, Snead, in keeping with a chum, Jack Vardaman, took accountability. “He mentioned, ‘I neglected the putt.’”

As for his two second-place finishes after St. Louis, Snead misplaced by means of a shot to Cary Middlecoff in 1949 and, in 1953, trailed Hogan by means of one heading into the overall spherical, however shot a 76 to lose by means of six. In 1937, Ralph Guldahl defeated him by means of two.

So does Snead’s lack of ability to win the Open impact how top he will have to rank a number of the sport’s absolute best? Curtis Peculiar, who gained the Open in 1988 and 1989, mentioned it did.

“The Open holds him again,” Peculiar mentioned. “If he has the U.S. Open, he’s no longer an 8 or 9 or 10 man; he’s perhaps a 5 or 6 man.”

Snead’s title has arise so much not too long ago as a result of Tiger Woods, along with his win on the Masters, has 81 excursion victories, one shy of Snead’s file. Of his 82 wins, seven had been majors.

“It’s made Sam related once more,” mentioned Peculiar, who idolized him rising up. “And making Sam related has taught the more youthful era how nice he in point of fact used to be.”

Snead, who died in 2002 at age 89, used to be fatalistic about his Open screw ups, Vardaman mentioned.

“He mentioned the way it used to be predestined for him to by no means win the Open,” Vardaman mentioned. “It used to be virtually like the great Lord mentioned, ‘I’m going to help you win so much, however I’m no longer going to help you win the Open.’”

The scars perhaps by no means totally healed. Dodson used to be enjoying golfing with Snead within the early 1990s when he requested if the Open losses harm him so much.

“He simply stopped,” Dodson mentioned, “and checked out me and mentioned, ‘What do you assume?’”

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