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.
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.
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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