The 60th anniversary of the first Jack Nicklaus-Sam Snead golf match contested at Urbana Country Club occurred last month, and Pro Football Hall of Famer/London native Dick LeBeau recently passed along an interesting story about the time he met Snead in the late-1960s when Snead was well past his prime as a golfer.
“When I was a player for the Detroit Lions, I once sat in a golf cart with Sam Snead for 30 or 40 minutes and watched scores come in at a U.S. Open qualifier he was playing in,” said LeBeau. “When I was introduced to him and he sat down in my cart, one of the first things he asked was how much I weighed. It was later in my career then and I was playing at about 180 pounds (to save a step or two). Sam said that was what he weighed when he played football in high school and I could just feel him thinking, ‘I could have played professional football.’
“I vividly remember thinking that this was all wrong to have one of the greatest golfers of all time sitting there watching the scoreboard like I used to do at the Ohio Amateur to see if my 76 was going to make the match play round.
“Sam sat in the cart until it started looking pretty certain that he was not going to make it – he didn’t – and I don’t think he ever tried to make the Open field again.
“He said good-bye, walked a little ways to a helicopter, got in and flew away.”
Todd Michael was the winner of the framed 16×20 autographed photo of Jack Nicklaus that was recently raffled off at Urbana Country Club.
The raffle for the autographed photo – donated by Nicklaus himself – raised $234 for the United Way of Clark, Champaign and Madison Counties.
Trivia Time – Jannon Roland averaged 29.5 points per game her senior basketball season at Urbana High School in 1992-93.
This week’s question – How many U.S. Open titles did Sam Snead win?