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Thursday, 23 May, 2002, 23:40 GMT 00:40 UK
Golf world pays tribute to Snead
Sam Snead plays a tee shot during the Canada Cup in 1956
Sam Snead had one of the finest swings ever seen
Past and present stars of the golf world have paid their tributes to Sam Snead, who has died at the age of 89.

World number two Phil Mickelson led the tributes to Snead.

"I don't think there's ever been a golf swing as aesthetically pleasing as Sam Snead's," he said.

Nick Faldo, who had developed a close relationship with Snead in recent years, called him "one of the greatest sportsmen of his era, let alone golfer."

"He was the strongest and the fittest and the best competitor in his era," said Faldo, a three time Masters winner like Snead.

"Legendary swing, legendary tempo and a great character as well."

Snead was the honorary starter at Augusta since 1983, including this year shortly after he suffered a mild stroke.

"It was just great to see him come out to the range at Augusta and hit a few balls." Faldo said.

"He still had a 1-iron in his bag at 89 years old. There won't be too many people who can do that."

Byron Nelson was a contemporary of Snead's and winner of five Majors between 1937 and 1945.

He said: "The golf world is going to miss him.

"I was never amazed at anything he ever did."

Spaniard Jose Maria Olazabal, a double Masters champion, said: "Obviously you cannot live forever but it is a big loss.

"He was a very joyful person. He was always joking and smiling and I think that was his main character, what made him special.

"He did have a wonderful swing, wonderful rhythm. It was nice to see. He'll be missed, without question."

USPGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said: "Beyond his achievements, we will always remember him for the style and grace he brought to our sport.

"When you think about a short list of champions who have made an indelible mark of the character and growth of our sport, Sam Snead is on the list every time."

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 ON THIS STORY
BBC Sport's Tony Adamson
"Snead played better for longer than anyone else"
Golfing great
Steve Rider pays tribute to Sam Snead
Golfing great Sam Snead has died

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