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Sport update: Golf world mourning the loss of Snead.

SLAMMIN' Sam Snead, the man who used the sweetest swing in golf to win seven Major championships and a record 81 PGA Tour events is dead.

The only man to have won sanctioned tournaments in six decades - from the 1936 West Virginia Closed Pro to the 1982 Legends of Golf, which he won with partner Gardner Dickinson - Snead died last night aged 89 at home in Hot Springs, Virginia.

He was famous for his straw hat, cocky grin and humour. A three-time Masters champion, Snead had been its honorary starter since 1983.

At this year's event he was recovering from stroke-like symptoms and, for the first time, he needed someone else to tee up the ball for him. His ceremonial shot flew into the gallery and struck a fan in the face, breaking his glasses.

Snead was raised during the Depression in the backwoods of western Virginia. Blessed with raw talent, he grew up playing in bare feet with clubs made from tree limbs.

The late Gene Sarazen once said of him: "I've just watched a kid who doesn't know anything about playing golf ... and I don't want to be around when he learns."

For all his victories, Snead never won the US Open, a statistic that haunted his career. But he was runner-up four times.

Current star Phil Mickelson said: "I don't think there's ever been a golf swing as aesthetically pleasing as Sam's."

MOTOR SPORT: Scot Allan McNish burned up Monaco's mean streets yesterday and stole the thunder of F1 king Michael Schumacher.

The German - who is bidding to equal Ayrton Senna's record of six Monte Carlo wins - wound up back in 11th place as rookie McNish showed no fear on his first trip round the millionaire's playground.

McNish's Toyota was almost a second faster than Schumi's Ferrari and was set for top spot until overtaken by Renault's Jarno Trulli late on.

The 32-year-old Scot - who finished three places ahead of team-mate Mika Salo - said: "I have only ever driven Monaco in a Lexus before now and I think we did a good job.

"The car actually suits the circuit a lot better than I had expected."

David Coulthard was third fastest.

RUGBY: Gordon McIlwham pulled out of Scotland's trans-Atlantic tour yesterday to save his career.

The powerful prop is being ditched by Glasgow and wants to stay at home to look for another club.

McIlwham said: "Glasgow told me they had no money to offer me a fresh contract. In the circumstances, there was no sense in me going away with Scotland.

"I have to use the next few weeks to get something fixed up."

McIlwham has been replaced by Bruce Douglas, who has just completed a move from NEC Harlequins to the Borders.

Glasgow chief executive David Jordan claimed McIlwham said: "Gordon was offered terms reflecting his standing within the squad and the restraints of our budget. When he rejected that offer we could not sit around and wait."

Warriors have signed Scotland Under-21 man Andy Kelly to replace McIlwham.

SPEEDWAY: Edinburgh Monarchs lost 54-36 away to Swindon Robins last night. Peter Carr top-scored for them but too many riders had an off night, with captain Frede Schott scoring just seven.

BOWLS: Scotland have made four changes to their side for next month's women's Home Internationals in Wales.

Queen's Park's Ann Dunwoodie, Heather Rankin from Wrangholm Hall and Seona Black from Bonnybridge are recalled while Annbank's Maureen Shimmons is selected for the first time.

BADMINTON: Dan Travers (Perth) beat Germany's Karl Heinz Fix 1-7 7-1 7-5 7-0 to reach the last eight of the European Masters in Radebeul, Dresden.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:May 24, 2002
Words:603
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