It was an embarrassing episode, but I survived.
For years the club held a long-drive contest on the Wednesday before the tournament, until it was replaced by the Par-3 contest in 1960. The long-drive event was for bragging rights and a gold money clip with the Augusta National logo on it. In the '51 contest Sam Snead hit a 325-yard drive. I was a late entry, and my winning drive was 328. I was seldom as long as Sam but happened to catch one. The results were announced over a P.A. system while Snead was on the practice putting green. I walked by.
"Hey, boy, come over here," he said to me.
Snead represented the Greenbrier, the West Virginia resort, and we knew each other well. He was 11 years older than I.
"How'd you do that?" he asked.
"Easy, Sam," I said, "I used one of your drivers."
It was a literal answer. One of the Greenbrier assistant pros had given me, on a loaner basis, one of Sam's drivers from his bulging arsenal. It had a persimmon head, eight degrees of loft and an extrastiff shaft. I added an inch of length to the handle.
Snead said, "I want it back!"
He got it back, eventually. I still have the money clip. The club logo fell off years ago, but I still use it every day.