About J.C. Snead
It’s not often you get a chance to stare down arguably the greatest golfer of all time and win a major championship. J.C. Snead did just that at the 1995 Ford Senior Players Championship, using a birdie on the first playoff hole to fend off Jack Nicklaus and claim the title. Nicklaus had made an eagle on the 71st hole of the tournament and just missed a putt on No. 18 that would have won the championship in regulation.
That was one of 12 professional victories for Snead, who joins his uncle, Sam Snead, in the Virginia Golf Hall of Fame. The 76-year-old- J.C. grew up in Hot Springs in western Virginia. Certainly, Snead drew inspiration from his legendary uncle. But the most important influence in his life might have been his old coach, Paul Siple, who recently passed away.
“He was the coach, and later principal, of just about everything … football, basketball, baseball … at our high school, Valley High or Bath County High,” J.C. said in an interview with Virginia Golfer magazine. “All of us respected him so much. If he pointed at a tree over there and said for you to run into it head first, we’d have run into the tree without asking any questions to why.”
Snead, who spent time as a professional baseball player in the Washington Senators’ system before committing to golf full time, won eight times on the PGA Tour and secured two runner-up finishes in majors. He took second at the 1973 Masters and at the 1978 U.S. Open. Snead was inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame in 2003.
In the final round of the 1995 Ford Senior Players Championship, Snead sweated as Jack Nicklaus putted to win the title in regulation on 18. The putt missed, forcing a playoff for the title. Snead made birdie on the first playoff hole to defeat Nicklaus and claim his lone major championship title.
Year Turning Pro
Appearances on U.S. Ryder Cup team (1971, 1973, 1975)
PGA Tour Victories
More than $7,000,000
Achievements & Media
Special thanks to the USGA, PGA Tour, PGA of America, and inductee family members for contributing photos and videos to this project.
DOB: October 14, 1940
College: East Tennessee State University
Amateur achievements: Before turning professional, played minor-league baseball in the Washington Senators farm system.
Year turning pro: 1964
Tournaments Won (*-PGA Tour victory; &-Champions Tour victory; %-other victory):
1971 Tucson Open Invitational-*; Doral-Eastern Open Invitational-*
1972 IVB-Philadelphia Golf Classic-*
1973 Australian Open-%
1975 Andy Williams-San Diego Open Invitational-*
1976 Andy Williams-San Diego Open Invitational-*; Kaiser International Open Invitational-*
1980 Jerry Ford Invitational (tie with Hubert Green)-%
1981 Southern Open-*
1987 Manufacturers Hanover Westchester Classic-*
1993 Vantage at The Dominion-&
1995 Royal Caribbean Classic-&; Ford Senior Players Championship-&
2002 Greater Baltimore Classic-&
2011 Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf, Demaret Division-%
2012 Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf, Demaret Division-%
Top major championship finishes: Masters (2nd in 1973, t10 in 1975); U.S. Open (t2 in 1978, t15 in 1982); PGA Championship (t3 in 1973; 15th in 1981).
Member of the U.S. Ryder Cup team in 1971, 1973 and 1975.
Finished with more than $7 million in career earnings.
Inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame in 2003.