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The Leo Golfer

The LEO Golf Legend: Ben Hogan

  • Inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1974
  • Major Championship Victories: 9
  • U.S. Open: 1948, 1950, 1951 and 1955.
  • Masters: 1951, 1953
  • British Open: 1953
  • PGA: 1946, 1948
  • PGA TOUR victories: 68

Ben Hogan may have been the hardest worker that golf ever produced. He had a code: work, study, endure – that he never deviated from. Beating balls until his hands bled and he was satisfied with the results, Hogan outworked them all.

Ben HoganHogan was born on August 13, 1912 in Dublin, Texas. His father was a blacksmith who died when Ben was nine. After moving to Fort Worth, Hogan began his golf career as a caddy at the Glen Garden CC, joining the professional circuit in 1932. Hogan went broke twice before finally breaking through at the Oakland Open, winning $380 for second place that kept him going. A long hitter, he had a tendency to hook the ball, which consistently got him into trouble. It was not until he learned to fade the ball that he started winning tournaments.

Hogan’s so called “secret” to the game was believed by most to be a weakening of the left hand along with a pronounced rotation of his left arm on the backswing. This move allowed him to hit a power fade and after several close calls in major championships, he won his first major at the 1946 PGA. When he won the 1948 PGA Championship in May and the U.S. Open at Riviera the same year he felt that he had reached his peak.

On a bleak winters day in 1949 Hogan was involved in a car crash that almost ended his life and left his legs with permanent injuries. He had to teach himself to walk again and often had to soak his legs between nines to reduce the swelling. Miraculously, he won the U.S. Open at Merion in 1950 later recalling, “Merion meant the most.” Even though Hogan only played in a few tournaments the year after his accident, his best golf was ahead of him. In 1951, he won his first Masters and the U.S. Open at Oakland Hills. He had his greatest year in 1953, winning his second Masters, his fourth U.S. Open and his only British Open.

 

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Hogan won a total of 63 tournaments, the last of which was the Colonial in 1959. He compiled nine majors and in doing so became one of only five men to win the Masters, the U.S. Open, the British Open and the PGA at least once. He played his last official event in 1971.

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