ARMCHAIR GOLF Roundtable: Sam Snead, Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson

ARMCHAIR GOLF Roundtable: Sam Snead, Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson 1(Editor’s note: In honor of Sam Snead, whose longtime golf home was The Greenbrier, site of this week’s Greenbrier Classic, I bring you the following from the ARMCHAIR GOLF archives.)

These are real quotes and comments. The questions are made up. Welcome to the ARMCHAIR GOLF roundtable.

At the roundtable:

Sam Snead – 82 PGA Tour wins, 7 majors

Ben Hogan – 64 PGA Tour wins, 9 majors

Byron Nelson – 52 PGA Tour wins, 5 majors

Q: Gentlemen, welcome. Ben, let’s start with you. After all the rounds and practice sessions, tell us something you have learned about this game.

BEN HOGAN: Golf is not a game of good shots. It’s a game of bad shots.

Q: Byron, how about you? What about the game comes to mind?

BYRON NELSON: Golf is a lot like life. When you make a decision, stick with it.

Q: Sam?

SAM SNEAD: Playing golf is like eating.

Q: Eating?

SAM SNEAD: It’s something that has to come naturally.

Q: Ben, it didn’t come naturally for you. You constantly worked at your game.

BEN HOGAN: Very few times in my life I laid off two to three days. It seemed like it took me a month to three months to get back those three days when I took a rest. It’s a tough situation. I had to practice all the time.

Q: Byron, were you a natural like Sam or did you have to work hard on your swing?

SAM SNEAD: When I swing at a golf ball right, my mind is blank and my body is loose as a goose.

Q: Uh, thanks, Sam. Byron, any swing secret?

BYRON NELSON: Swing the club as though you were driving 60 miles an hour on the freeway. Not too fast, but not deathly slow. Once in a while, if the risk isn’t great, you can push your swing to 70, but never go faster than that.

Q: Ben, it’s well known that putting was not your favorite part of the game.

BEN HOGAN: There shouldn’t be any cups, just flagsticks. And then the man who hit the most fairways and greens and got the closest to the pins would be the tournament winner.

Q: Sam, are you with Ben on this?

SAM SNEAD: I shot a wild elephant in Africa thirty yards from me, and it didn’t hit the ground until it was right at my feet. I wasn’t a bit scared. But a four-foot putt scares me to death.

Q: How about you, Byron?

BYRON NELSON: Putting affects the nerves more than anything. I would actually get nauseated over three-footers.

Q: You all had humble beginnings. Talk about that.

SAM SNEAD: People think growing up in the hills was a handicap I had to overcome. In a lot of ways it gave me an advantage that has lasted me to this day. Just like with that stick, I’d have to overcompensate for just about everything.

Q: Anybody else?

LEE TREVINO: My family was so poor they couldn’t afford any kids. The lady next door had me.

Q: Lee? I didn’t see you come in. Any final thoughts, gentlemen?

SAM SNEAD: The only reason I ever played golf in the first place was so I could afford to hunt and fish.

BYRON NELSON: I tried to give my best to golf.

BEN HOGAN: Don’t ever get old.

LEE TREVINO: The older I get, the better I used to be!

Q: Thanks to all of you.

−The Armchair Golfer

(Source: The Gigantic Book of Golf Quotations, published by Skyhorse Publishing.)

Photo of author
Neil Sagebiel

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