News and Views
"Slammin' Sammy" Snead and The Jersey's Shore's Only PGA Championship
By Sean Fawcett
In golf, there aren't many names bigger than Sam Snead. The legend, Snead, who won a record 82 PGA Tour tournament victories, and is a World Golf Hall of Famer, got started his career right here in South Jersey when he won the 1942 PGA Championship at Seaview Country Club in Galloway.
In May of 1942, "Slammin Sammy" as some referred to him, won his 28th professional tournament and first of his seven major championships, the 1942 PGA Championship, when he chipped in for a birdie from some 60 feet away to beat Jim Turnesa 2&1. The par 3, currently the 16th hole at The Pines Course, which measures around 200 yards, has a plaque at its tee commemorating Snead's accomplishment and personal and professional highlight.
The 1942 championship was played on a combination of Seaview's older Bay Course, which opened in 1914, and the William Flynn and Howard Toomey designed Pines Course, which opened in 1929. Snead's historic major championship triumph concluded on the Pines' 1st, 2nd and 12th through 18th holes. As we know, the Bay Course still annually hosts the LPGA's ShopRite Classic, presented by Acer.
"The 1942 PGA Championship was played on both The Bay and The Pines," said Seaview's TROON Golf's Director of Golf Alex McGann. " It was a match-play event back then and it was played on The Bay's front-nine, and most of the back nine holes were on the Pines."
"Snead won his final match versus Jim Turnesa with what some called a miraculous chip-in from about 60 feet. The chip happened right off the green and close to the 15th's tee box. The 15th, now a par-3, was a par 4 in 1942."
In 36-hole match play, Turnesa, who would eventually go on to win the 1952 PGA Championship, went 2-for-3 against Golf's "Big 3"(Ben Hogan, Byron Nelson and Sam Snead) in succession to finish second to Snead. Turnesa knocked off Hogan first, 2&1, in the quarterfinals before narrowly defeating Nelson 1up in 1 extra hold, who at the time, was the game's highest ranked player in the semifinals, before, and ultimately, losing to Snead. Snead had advanced to the face Turnesa by defeating 1940 Masters champion, and 3-time Green Jacket winner, and fellow World Golf Hall of Famer Jimmy Demaret 3&2 in the semifinals after out-driving 1933 PGA runner-up Willie Goggin(9&8) and Ed Dudley(1-up). Snead, who was second in the 1940 and 1938 PGA Championships, would win three PGA Championships, 3 Masters (1949m 1952, 1954) and one British Open in his career. .
Immediately following his 1942 victory at Seaview, Snead began his US military service career when he joined the US Navy. The '42 PGA was the second and final major of the year(the other was The Masters). The PGA, and the other three majors, The Masters, The US Open and The British Open were suspended in 1943 because of World War II. The PGA returned in 1944 with the other three golf championships resuming play in 1946.
Snead's Hall of Fame career continued after the war and included his decades-long held record 82 Tour triumphs, which was broken by Tiger Woods in 2019. Snead is one of four legends that have won Tour events in four different decades, a feat recently accomplished by Lee Westwood. He remains the oldest player to ever make the cut in a major championship when he made it to the weekend rounds of the 1979 PGA Championship at 67 years old.
"It's really incredible to have the kind of history we have with Sam Snead, here at Seaview," said McGann. " We're one of maybe a dozen public golf courses in the country, and one of only two courses here at the Jersey Shore, to have hosted a major like the PGA Championship. Having one of golf's all-time best players to have won it, and his first major, right here is really amazing.
"When you talk about Sam Snead, you're talking about one of the five, six, or seven greatest golfers in history."
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