The sound when Sam Snead hit an iron shot was like the sound of a Rolls Royce door slamming shut. The contact with the ball and the turf - which was absolutely simultaneous - had a rich sound unmatched in his day, or perhaps any other. With the driver, the sound was different; it had more of an explosive quality, the brisk but definitive report of a rifle shot.
Even today, 68 years after bursting onto the national scene, he remains the standard. The man with the most admired golf swing in the history of the game? Forget Woods, forget Hogan, forget Jones. Even today, the vote is almost always unanimous: Sam Snead, of course.
Slammin' Sam. The PGA Tour's all-time victory leader with 82 wins. The oldest winner on the PGA Tour at age 52. Winner of seven major championships (3 Masters, 3 PGAs, 1 British Open). Seven-time member of the U.S. Ryder Cup team. Eight-time winner of the Greater Greensboro Open. Six-time winner of the Miami Open. Original member of the World Golf Hall of Fame (1974). Golf partner of presidents, royalty, and celebrities. Idol of millions of golf fans for over fifty years.
Until today, though, few people could truly say they knew this man. His fears, his secrets, his dark side. Until today, there has never been a definitive biography of one of the greatest golfers of all time. Sam: The One and Only Sam Snead-by award-winning golf writer Al Barkow-is not only a peek behind the mask, but an arresting look into the life of one of the game's most engaging yet enigmatic figures. Until today, millions of golf fans thought they knew who Sam Snead was. They were wrong.
Al Barkow is a veteran golf reporter and recipient of the 2005 PGA Lifetime Achievement Award in Journalism. He lives in Albany, California.