Sam Snead famously never won a U.S. Open, his national championship keeping him from completing the career Grand Slam in the same way it has eluded Phil Mickelson. And like Mickelson, Snead had his share of chances, finishing runner-up in the event four times -- two behind Phil's record of six. But one tournament, the 1939 U.S. Open, haunted Snead more than others.
Snead needed just a par on Philadelphia C.C.'s par-5 18th to win that year's U.S. Open. However, he believed he needed a birdie to get into a playoff with Byron Nelson, thanks to an incorrect fan and a lack of scoreboards. The result was a bad decision that led to a stunning triple bogey.
Snead sent a handwritten fax to golf writer Eamon Lynch in 2000 (less than two years before the legend passed away at 89) which he explained his heartbreaking mistake, and Lynch shared that fax on Twitter on Monday. Give it a read:
The disastrous 8 caused by hitting his "2 1/2 wood" (How about the fact he could hit that thing a "good 250" in 1939?!) instead of 3-iron gave Snead a closing 74 and a fifth-place finish. Yep, this wasn't even one of those four runner-ups -- and it probably could have been avoided had he just known where he stood in the tournament. Poor Sammy.