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The Tour Report

May 16 2012

1:25 PM

Crenshaw on Nelson, Hogan, Snead

EDITOR'S NOTE: Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan and Sam Snead were each born 100 years ago, and their lives eventually intersected as three of golf's legendary players. PGATOUR.COM asked another golfing great, Ben Crenshaw, to provide his thoughts on each of the three as part of our Century Celebration. Besides writing about Byron Nelson this week for the HP Byron Nelson Championship, Crenshaw also shares his thoughts below about the three players collectively. Let us know your memories and thoughts about Nelson, Hogan and Snead By Ben Crenshaw, Special to PGATOUR.COM Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan and Sam Snead. What you have are three fascinating and very different players who came along at the same time who possessed higher skills than anyone else at the time. I suppose you classify them collectively picking up the mantle after the Jones era. And that they happened to all three be born in 1912 -- at a time when so much was changing -- that is fascinating in itself.
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When you stand back and see all three of them, they shaped our game until Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer and Gary Player came along. I suppose there is one argument that’s for the ages -- which one of these players impressed you most -- and there are always different camps. Ben Hogan hit the ball better than anybody. Byron Nelson had his camp too. It’s hard to believe that anybody would hit the ball better than what he did. How consistent he was. Consistency, no question, marked his performances. But ability-wise and shot- making they say Sam Snead. They were just astounding, astounding players. I don’t think there’s any question in my mind that it wouldn’t matter what era they were playing in, they would have made it work despite the equipment. They were that good. I’ve seen a lot of golfers in my time, but there have never been three players who have impressed me more. Not only in the way they played and their records, but what they meant to the game. They sort of burst onto the scene in the mid 30s and took over for so long -- through the late ‘50s when their names were on everybody’s lips. What they accomplished-- individually and collectively -- was unbelievable. CLICK HERE FOR CRENSHAW’S THOUGHTS ON BYRON NELSON