The ghosts of Sam Snead observe Tiger Woods in Greensboro | That is the loop
For golf fans curious about how current events fit into the bigger picture of golf history, this week’s amalgamation of the two on the PGA Tour in Greensboro, NC is especially fascinating.
Here’s the scenario: For the first time, Tiger Woods, who is three wins ahead of Sam Snead’s PGA Tour record of 82, plays the Wyndham Championship, the same tournament that Sam won his 82nd Tour event, and the same number less golf course .
And there’s more: 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of Snead’s 82nd victory, won on April 4, 1965. It was Snead’s eighth win at what was then the Greater Greensboro Open. Only Woods has won a PGA Tour event as many times after winning eight Bridgestone Invitational and Arnold Palmer Invitational titles.
Is it a coincidence that the victorious Woods is set in the Donald Ross-designed Sedgefield Country Club, where the spirit of Snead hovers? The Slammer presence is strong in Sedgefield, where Snead first won in 1938 and last in 1965. This is a span of 27 years, which is the tour record for the longest time between the first and the last win in the same event. Woods, who is approaching 40 in December, may be subliminally looking for the longevity that Snead is so known for that he tried to break out of his slump at the final regular-season PGA Tour event.
Chances are Woods and Wyndham are just timing partners in getting Tiger into the FedEx Cup playoffs, and there’s no need to read about it anymore. But it can’t hurt Woods’ chances to start his playoff run on the course where Snead won five of his eight Greensboro titles. If he does so, Woods can look forward to his 40s with a glimmer of hope: Snead ranks second behind Vijay Singh in most Tour wins for a player in his 40s (22-17) and is number 1 for the oldest winner the tour when he was 52 years, 10 months, 8 days at the 1965 Greensboro event. Feeding on the Greensboro vibes that Snead left behind cannot detract from Wood’s motivation.