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Monday, 27 May, 2002, 05:26 GMT 06:26 UK
Friends say farewell to Snead
Sam Snead entertains the crowd at St Andrews
Sam Snead was one of the games' great entertainers
Sam Snead was remembered as a "national treasure" at the legendary golfer's funeral on Sunday.

Snead, known for having the sweetest swing in golf, died on Thursday at his home from complications after a series of strokes. He was 89.

"No one will ever duplicate Sam Snead. No one will ever surpass Sam Snead, because he was so unique," USPGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem said.

The service took place at St Luke's Episcopal Church in Hot Springs, Virginia, where about 250 friends, family and fellow golfers turned out to pay their respects.

Moving tribute

"What do you say when a legend passes or leaves us?" Finchem said.

"Sam was, in so many ways, the best player the game has ever seen."

The service, held in a church across the street from The Homestead resort where Snead learned the game, was a moving tribute to the man who always called Hot Springs home.

Throughout his retirement, Snead spent a lot of time running clinics at both The Homestead at The Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia.

Self taught

"He was a common man," said Robert Harris, director of golf at The Greenbrier. "He never forgot that. He never felt special."

Snead taught himself golf, starting out with clubs he fashioned from used buggy whips and discarded iron heads, and a driver that he and his father carved from the root and trunk of a swamp maple tree.

Those clubs, he often said, helped him develop the timing and rhythm of his swing.

Snead won 81 times on the PGA Tour, 11 more than Jack Nicklaus, who is ranked number two with 70 career wins.

Major successes

Snead won his first title in 1936 and his last in the 1982 Legends of Golf, when he teamed with Don January.

He won the Masters three times, the PGA Championship three times and the British Open once, and had several near misses in the U.S. Open.

Snead also was the oldest winner on the PGA Tour, capturing the 1965 Greater Greensboro Open at 52.

He became the youngest to shoot his age 15 years later with a 67 in the Quad Cities Open. Two days later, he shot 66.

Golfing great Sam Snead has died

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