The day that… Sam Snead won an LPGA Tour tournament!

Sam Snead Photo by Roberto SCHMIDT / AFP

Winner of 82 tournaments on the American PGA Tour, Sam Snead is the only holder of a very original record: he is the only man to have won a title on the LPGA Tour. The feat took place in 1962, exactly 60 years ago.

Co-holder with Tiger Woods of the record for 82 wins on the PGA Tour, American Sam Snead has achieved a series of feats marked by an extraordinary longevity spread over 6 decades. Although he has won “only” 7 Majors, he is still a true golf legend.

A very serious title on the LPGA

Among his many achievements, there is one that is original to say the least: it remains to this day. the only golfer to hold a title in… women, on the LPGA Tour. This fact had nothing to do with coming out of the closet or some eccentricity of the champion, recognizable with his toquilla straw hat, sometimes playing barefoot and putting, at the end of his career, as croquet.

Created in 1950 the Ladies Professional Golf Association has always needed publicity. Ten years after its creation, the association wants to organize a tournament that could cause a sensation. The idea is to mount a mixed competition made up of champions and champions.

A tournament held on a pitch & putt

Contrary to scandinavian mixed created in 2021 where everyone plays on the same 18-hole regulation course, the organizers of the time erased the main difference of the proettes compared to the men, power, by choosing the pitch & putt of the palm beach golf clubin Florida.

Thus was born in February 1961, the first Royal Poinciana Invitation which welcomes, in 3 rounds, 24 male and female players, professionals or amateurs. The so-titled “Battle of the Sexes” could begin! It was won by champion Louise Suggs, one of the founders of the LPGA and won 11 Majors in the 1940s and 1950s.

Beaten in the first edition

Wild card, Sam Snead finished in 3rd place with a delay of 2 strokes. Certainly he lost a battle but not the war. The following year, the LPGA simplified the “conflict” by inviting him to fight alone against the 14-player women’s army. ” The pressure is double this time. We’re still waiting for the man to win says the champion. But ‘hitting sam It shows that he is not just a brute.

His perfect swing, all in finesse, works wonders: in 2 days and 72 holes this time, he establishes a score of 211, or 5 under par. On February 7, 1962, thus he won the tournament 5 strokes ahead of his female counterpart, Mickey Wright, then at the height of a career completed by some 13 Majors.

Conclude with a “Battle of Words”

If Sam Snead goes down in history, the event was hardly profitable for his wallet. According to the local press, the champion, before receiving approximately $1,500 in earningsHe would have learned during the end of the first lap that his boat – a luxury runabout – was slowly but surely sinking in the port of Lake Worth, located not far from the course…

We don’t know if this matter has bothered him enough, but at the end of the tournament (which will only know 2 editions) the Virginian tied: ” I decided to play as evenly as possible and let the girls make the mistakes. It is not possible to go to the whip with them, as you can in the men’s circuit “Other times, other ways…

Photo © Roberto SCHMIDT / AFP

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