Loyalty- A Slamming Sammy Snead story

        This story was from a long time ago. (you’ll know by the dollar figures) It may be paraphrased some, but it still makes the point. 

         Sam Snead played Wilson golf clubs as long as I can remember, maybe all his adult life. When I was a kid we all used Wilson clubs. I had a set of Arnold Palmers, but I had a Sam Snead Blue Ridge 7-iron ’cause my uncle lost the one with Arnie’s name on it, and the local hardware store didn’t have a match.

       To cut down on expenses Snead often traveled with another pro. I think his name was Johnny Revolta. Revolta was a fine player, but not quite the marquee name of Sam Snead.

        So the story goes, one of the executives called Snead into his office one day and said, “Sam, we don’t think you ought to be on the road with a pro who isn’t on the Wilson Staff.”

        Sam said, (paraphrased) “Well sir, I always represent Wilson to the best of my ability, and I sure appreciate that five thousand dollars a year you send me to do so. But I have to tell you I can’t let you choose my friends for me.”

        They decided they didn’t want to lose Sam, and let it drop.

        I was impressed. If a fellow that would stand by his friends like that and take a chance on losing such an enormous sum of money he must be a good man. I always have admired loyalty.

        I’ve tried to conduct my life that way too. A few times I got pretty far out on a limb, but never got it sawed off behind me so it’s all worked out okay so far. Ever so often they’d hack a little, but they always stopped sawing after they were given a chance to think on it. Maybe they figured if they caused old Dr. B to break a leg and anyone found out it’d be bad PR.

        I know this. I still think of Sam when I see a set of Wilson golf clubs and dream maybe somehow I could ever swing like him on the right day. I don’t know who that executive was but I’ll give even odds he couldn’t break 90. Every so often I run across those clubs in the basement, and I always think how lucky Wilson was to have Sam Snead on their staff. 

        And if they were still alive I wouldn’t bet against a team of Sam Snead and Johnny Revolta; those cats could play.

        I bet a hundred years from now folks will still remember the graceful golf swing of Slamming Sammy Snead, but my guess is that mid level executive’s name is lost to history, and I’m certain no one cares how much money he piled up, either.

Dr. B

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6 Comments on “Loyalty- A Slamming Sammy Snead story”

  1. Jen Randolph Says:

    I have never heard of Sam Snead but I agree the name is memorable both for the marquee appeal and the story behind him. One can hope to show even half the loyalty that Sam did. Great story. Keep up the good work!
    PS – I will be looking for your book in stores.

  2. drtombibey Says:


    Sam was a country boy from West Virginia with a whole bunch of talent. At least at the start of his career his wasn’t worldly, but that was part of his charm.

    When they showed him his picture in a New York newspaper he said, “how’d they get that? I’ve never been up there.”

    Ah another day and age. Wish some of that mentality could still be around.

    So far we’re doing well on Amazon and my agent now has me in a few book stores. It’s all kinda odd, but I’m still not sure how a country boy wound up on Amazon.

    Dr. B

  3. All I had to do was say “Sam Snead’ to my husband, and he launched into a whole lotta history about Sam he learned when he was fifteen years old and working at the public golf course ‘Tam O’Shanter’ in Hermitage, Pennsylvania.

    He stopped mid-stream, looked at me and said, “How do you know about Sam Snead?”

    And I proceeded to read him your post. What a lovely way to start winding down the evening.

    Thank you, Dr. B., and congratulations on “The Mandolin Case” still holding strong.

    • drtombibey Says:


      That is so cool. I always hope I can write in a way where people stop and think about many perspectives. Your husband is right about Sam; a long colorful career and many stories.

      Tam O’Shanter is famous in the South. I’ve never played it but have heard of it all my life.

      Dr. B

  4. jel Says:

    hey Doc,
    I had to laugh, I was telling my DH, I should have ask my brother if he had heard of “Sammy Snead” cause his a Golf nut! and DH said even I know of Slamming Sammy.

    • drtombibey Says:


      I reckon golf, baseball, and football are good ways to communicate with men, huh? My wife knows a ton about golf, and my ladies at the office know right much about it too. I usually can dig up some shag balls for their kids and grandkids when they begin to play.

      Dr. B

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