Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Ben Hogan (August 13, 1912 - July 25, 1997) was a professional golf player. Born in Dublin, Texas, he began caddying at the age of eleven and started as a professional golfer in 1931. Hogan was by most accounts the greatest golfer of his time and one of the greatest of all-time. He is arguably the greatest ball striker of all time. "The Hawk" possessed an iron will and fierce determination which when combined with his unquestionable golf skills, often intimidated opponents into submission. He rarely spoke while in competition.
Although slight of build at only 5'7" and 140 pounds, he was very long off the tee and even competed in long drive contests early in his career. Between the years of 1938 through 1959, Hogan won 63 professional golf tournaments despite his career being interrupted in its prime by World War II and a near fatal car accident.
Hogan was known to practice more than any other golfer of his contemporaries. He thought that an individual's golf swing was "in the dirt" and all one needed to do was dig it out by hitting enough golf balls. While afflicted with hooking the golf ball early in his career, he developed a "secret" which made his swing nearly automatic. His "secret" was once revealed in a 1955 Life magazine article, but many believed he did not reveal all.
Hogan believed that a solid repeatable golf swing involved only a few essential elements, which when performed correctly and in sequence, was the essence of the swing. His "Five Lessons, Modern Fundamentals of Golf " is perhaps the most widely read golf tutorial which is often plagiarized by modern "swing gurus." The "Five Lessons," written after his prime, demonstrated his clear command and knowledge of the mechanics of the golf swing.
In 1948 alone, Ben Hogan won 10 tournaments. Tragically, the following winter, a head-on collision with a bus nearly killed him. With a double fracture of the pelvis, a fractured collar bone, left ankle fracture, a chipped rib, and near fatal blood clots, he would suffer lifelong circulation problems and other physical limitations. His doctors said he might never walk again, let alone play golf competitively.
Prior to the 1949 accident, Hogan never truly captured the hearts of his galleries, despite being the dominant golfer of his time. Perhaps this was due to his cold and aloof on-course persona. But when Ben Hogan shocked and amazed the golf world by returning to tournament golf only 11 months after his accident, and amazingly took second place after a playoff loss to Sam Snead in the 1950 Los Angeles Open, he was cheered on by ecstatic fans. "His heart was simply not big enough to carry his legs any longer," famed sportswriter Grantland Rice said of Hogan's near miss. However, he proved to his critics and to himself especially that he could still win by completing his famous comeback five months later by defeating Loyd Mangrum and George Fazio in an 18 hole playoff at Merion C.C. to win his second U.S. Open. Hogan went on to achieve perhaps the greatest sporting accomplishment in history by limping to 12 more PGA wins, including 6 Majors. He even received a ticker-tape parade in New York City upon his return from winning the 1953 Open Championship.
Ben Hogan later went on to found a golf club manufacturing company (now owned by the Callaway Golf Company), and his clubs, or at least ones that carry his name, are still played today. Ben Hogan never competed on the senior golf tour, which did not exist until he was in his late sixties.
- Ben Hogan at Golf Stars Online Directory of relevant online Hogan resources
- Ben Hogan on About.com Profile, stats and quotes
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