Success, longevity made Snead a legend
April 12, 1954 - Sam Snead and Ben Hogan were the two brightest stars in golf. Each had won two of the previous five Masters. Hogan had led by three strokes going into yesterday's fourth round, but ballooned to a three-over-par 75, while Snead shot a par 72, giving each a 289 (15 strokes higher than Hogan's winning score a year earlier) and forcing today's 18-hole playoff.
After nine holes, they were tied at one under-par 35. Still knotted at one-under, they came to the par 5, 485-yard 13th known at Augusta National as the Azalea Hole, which was rated the easiest hole on the course.
Slammin' Sam had consistently been out-driving Hogan throughout the day and on this hole he crushed his tee shot some 20 yards beyond his opponent. After Hogan opted to lay up on his next shot, an aggressive Snead used a two-iron and ripped the ball to the green. With two putts, Snead recorded a birdie and took a lead he never relinquished.
Although Snead bogeyed the final hole, his 70 bested Hogan by one shot and earned him $5,000 as he became the second three-time Masters champion (Jimmy Demaret was the first). Snead's 289 remains tied for the highest winning score in Masters history.Odds 'n' Ends