"I'd like to say this," said Gary Nixon. "Not winning the Open has given Sam an incentive that's kept him going so well all these years. Maybe if he'd won everything as a youngster he would have faded out of the picture as some other pros have done."
"Yes," Freddie Martin said, "I agree with that. But Sam would have made a great success of any sport. If he had gone into baseball he would have been another Ted Williams. He's got everything a great athlete has to have."
"Right now, today," said Gary Nixon, "Sam could probably run a 100-yard dash in darn near 10 seconds. He can bend down and pick a ball out of the cup without bending his knees. Does it all the time."
"He's an outdoorsman all the way," said Freddie Martin. "Hunting, fishing, golf—any sport. He loves baseball. He never misses a fight on television."
"Say," I said, getting a sudden thought, "there's one story I wanted to check with you men. The one about Sam playing with President Eisenhower and Jim Hagerty. Sam watches the President drive and then says, 'Mind if I offer you a little tip, Mr. President?' 'Why, no, I'd be grateful for any advice you'd give me, Sam,' says the President. Then Sam says, 'Well, stick out your fanny a little more, Mr. President.' "
Freddy Martin and Gary Nixon nodded solemnly. "True as gospel," said Freddie.
"Absolutely," nodded Gary Nixon, "except for one little detail."
"What's that?" I said.
"Why," said Gary, "I've never heard Sam use the word fanny."
The next night I was sitting on a bar stool at The Pines, a little nightclub near the Greenbrier. I had just attended a jam session in which Sam Snead had played his trumpet with the Four Populates, entertainers from the Greenbrier's Old White Club. Sitting there, I thought back over my month with Sam and then, suddenly, there he was, sliding onto the stool next to me. He had his hat on now and his horn was packed in its case and he was ready to go home. It was 3 o'clock in the morning.